Staying Secure Against the Threats Facing Schools

Now that students have returned to their classrooms, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the ongoing security and safety risks schools face — and at the best ways to prevent them.

The last few years have seen a lot of changes. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the popularity of schools as targets for different types of attacks, both cyber and physical. Naturally, no one wants to talk about these dangers — particularly those that fall into the latter category. But it is critical that we do discuss them. Only then can we take proactive steps to prevent these attacks from happening and keep both schools and students safe.

At Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) we believe few things are more important than maintaining school and student security. That’s why we’ve partnered with several companies to deliver the best possible solutions to schools looking to stop attackers of all kinds in their tracks. Read on to learn more about why it’s so important to take steps now and to see the products that can help you do so.

 

Increasing Threats to Schools: Both Cyber and Physical

Nowadays, schools and technology are fully linked. There are many benefits to this from the standpoint of education, but there’s also a problem. The more we rely on technology to power new ways of learning, the more vulnerable schools become to cybersecurity threats — and the more they have to lose in the face of a successful attack. Given reports that cyber criminals are increasingly targeting schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — and given the devastating financial impact of an attack — it’s more important than ever to take steps to block bad actors before it’s too late.

Unfortunately, cyberattacks aren’t the only danger schools have to contend with. Today, schools also face the pressing challenge of keeping their students physically safe without interfering with their ability to learn comfortably. This is becoming increasingly difficult given that school shootings are tragically on the rise, hitting highs not seen in over 50 years in 2021 alone. With children increasingly transitioning back to in-person learning environments, it’s time to think critically about how to keep students safe from gun violence and other physical security threats.

To help schools protect themselves — and their students — from all of these threats, we’ve compiled a list of the best tools in both the cyber and physical security spaces.

 

Cyber Security Products

  • Aruba Clearpass: Aruba Clearpass is a full stack software solution that works to secure your network and data. Aruba’s machine-learning powered features combine with advanced analytics to safeguard your data from any internal threats. By managing network access with Aruba Clearpass, you can not only achieve better network visibility, but also automatically identify any unmanaged devices that could potentially pose a threat. ClearPass Onboard also helps you configure and apply device rules to endpoints on your network.
  • Aruba ESP — Zero Trust Security: Aruba ESP is the latest network analytics innovation from Aruba. It operates across three main pillars — AI ops, Zero Trust, and Unified Infrastructure — to protect big data stored on the edge. Aruba ESP is a first-of-its-kind, AI-driven platform that unifies, safeguards, and optimizes the edge. Guided by Zero Trust principles, Aruba ESP diagnoses and traces all devices on your network, regardless of their location. Aruba’s unified infrastructure operates from a single watchtower that allows CIOs to monitor the full breadth of network activity across wireless, wired, and WAN locations.
  • Palo Alto Next Generation Firewalls: Palo Alto has rolled out three ML-powered, next generation firewalls to help monitor network traffic. These solutions enable deeper visibility, improved control, and more efficient management of network traffic policies. Palo Alto’s firewalls automate payload-based signatures to enhance threat prevention. You can upgrade your user identification and network control even more by pairing the firewalls with WLAN controllers, VPNs, and Active Directory.
  • Palo Alto’s Cloud-Delivered Security Services: In addition to delivering top-of-the-line firewalls, Palo Alto also offers premier subscriptions that secure networks and become natively integrated within the cloud — regardless of form factor. Palo Alto’s Cloud-Delivered Security Services mean you can start scaling consistent protection on your networks and delivering updates in a matter of seconds — all without having to add any additional infrastructure. Palo Alto’s most popular cloud subscriptions and threat intelligence services include Wildfire, Threat Prevention, URL Filtering, Global Product, DNS, and IoT Security.
  • Unit 42 Ransomware Readiness: Not a cybersecurity product in itself, Unit 42 Ransomware Readiness is one of Palo Alto’s hallmark features. Unit 42 is an expert team that gathers and analyzes data globally to incorporate real-time threat intelligence across all Palo Alto products and enforcement points on your network. They can conduct an assessment of your existing cybersecurity infrastructure, analyze your network for any signs of past or ongoing ransomware threats, and offer data-driven guidance to help you make proactive changes to improve your security posture. An added advantage of Unit 42 is that it isn’t just preventative — it can also help schools that have been hit by ransomware attacks deal with the fallout. Unit 42 evaluates the scope of the attack and provides expert assistance with recovery and prevention to avoid a repeat event.

 

Physical Security Products

  • Avigilon Smart Cameras: Avigilon Smart Cameras combine high levels of image detail with intelligence features that help you make sense of visuals to take your security beyond simple recording. Long-range lens variants, advanced video analytics, and archived video storage can all equip you with the insights and tools to safeguard both indoor and outdoor settings. Even better, Avigilon’s HD cameras ensure your physical premises are monitored and guarded at all times — all while making it easy to zero in on a single person or suspicious activity with the aid of self learning analytics, facial recognition, and license plate recognition features. Plus, the cameras can play a crucial role in the battle against COVID thanks to social distancing alerts and face mask detection capabilities that help ensure everyone is taking proper precautions on school premises.
  • Guardian Duress Alarm: The Guardian Duress Alarm is an advanced security system that ensures students and faculty can easily access emergency services and alert security to safety concerns from around your campus. This seriously accelerates on-site response times while providing an added layer of safety to students. It also helps ensure schools meet the requirements of Alyssa’s Law.
  • Evolv Express: Evolv Express is an AI-powered security solution that detects concealed weapons to keep students safe from physical threats. Unlike most standard weapons detection solutions, Evolv doesn’t require you to hand over your belongings or to slow your pace as you walk through the sensors. Instead, students and staff can simply walk through the sensors as they would a normal hallway and Evolv will take care of the rest, scanning up to 3,600 people per hour. It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. Relying on ultra-low frequency, electromagnetic fields and advanced sensors, Evolv Express can identify a potential weapon and pinpoint the precise location on someone’s body where it’s concealed. Real-time alerts are relayed to security professionals as soon as any threat is identified so they can act to mitigate the threat immediately.

 

Take Steps Today to Protect the Future

At Turn-key Technologies, Inc., we know there are few things more critical than keeping schools safe — both from cyber threats and from physical threats. It’s important that you take steps to protect yourself ahead of time so you never end up in the horrible position of regretting not having done enough. To help keep that from happening, we at TTI have compiled an assortment of the best solutions to protect both schools and students from both kinds of dangers. We stand ready to install, manage and provide guidance on the best ways you can uphold the safety of your students and the security of your networks.

To schedule your own consultation or to learn more about any of the highlighted products above, contact TTI today.

By Robert Elgart

March 3, 2022

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