CTOs in the Education Sector are Focusing on Mobile Security

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I have yet to see a CTO job description that highlights gymnastics as a pre-requisite. Yet, much of the role’s strategic planning and day-to-day operations are an ongoing balancing act. CTOs need to meet users’ 24x7 mobile computing needs, giving them everything needed to be successful and productive. While being on the hook to keep data access and file sharing secure.   

Five CTOs in the K-12 space recently revealed what keeps them up at night when it comes to data privacy and the best practices they’ve deployed to balance the growth of mobile devices in a predominantly cloud-based world. Here’s what struck me about this roundtable: mobile security challenges don’t discriminate.

What is keeping one CTO on her toes within a public school district in Massachusetts, is likely also plaguing a CTO at a financial services firm in New York and a CTO at a hospital in Texas. Many of the issues discussed at this education event are the same business challenges that we hear from prospective customers, which lead CTOs to our solution. The full Q&A is definitely worth a read, but here are six concerns that jump out as ones facing CTOs everywhere:

1) Bypassing IT: “Anyone can sign up for free, cloud-based Web software and potentially be sharing private student data in a matter of minutes, entirely bypassing an IT department or any approval process.”

2) Consumer-based file sharing not meant for enterprise use: “An office worker may mistakenly place a spreadsheet of FERPA-protected data into an online file-sharing service like Google Drive, Dropbox or Box and mistakenly share this data with persons not approved to access it.”

3) When lost devices mean lost data: “We have guidelines and policy in place that explicitly state that all student information should be kept private and secure, including encrypting information that may be on a mobile device or online storage. However, we still risk incidents each year where a laptop is stolen or a USB drive lost that has FERPA-protected information that is not encrypted.”

4) Without a single, approved solution, users call the shots: “It is difficult to keep a list of approved/unapproved resources. Therefore, we must trust our teachers to make wise decisions about their chosen resources and provide them with the education and resources to help them make the best decision.”

5) When ease of use means sacrificing security: “In my district we use Google Apps. This makes collaboration and sharing quite easy for students and teachers alike. But we find we have to be very diligent about educating teachers about information that is okay to put in a Google doc and what is not.”

6) Being kept in the dark about cloud vendors’ use of your data: “We are using contracted cloud services. We have certainly not perfected the adoption of these. And many educational software cloud providers seem mystified when you start questioning them about their policies and how they store and share data.”   

At Accellion we help organizations address these challenges head-on with a private cloud file sharing solution built exclusively for enterprise use. From universities to financial institutions to ad agencies to retailers, Accellion enables users to easily share information and CTOs know that private data is being kept secure, allowing everyone to sleep easy. 

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