6 Questions You Must Ask for Data Protection During Distance Learning

As the world rapidly adjusting to the new environment, it isn’t the same with the world of education. Instructional staff and faculty made great efforts to transforming course materials.

They have adopted new technologies and tools to make an effective learning process. At the end of the day, everyone is basically in unchartered territory. The common concern among educators and students is data privacy and cloud security standards maintained during online education. If truth be told, student data and technology systems never really had been safe.

As per the 2019 report from Help Net Security, 71% of organizations breached. They have failed to classify the data they have stored in the cloud. Security decision-makers and techs who are working to protect schools must ask six main questions. Further, in this blog post, we will break down each of the questions to provide you with insight into approaching the biggest problems that educational tech leaders usually face.

Question 1: Are the third and fourth party vendors are secure to work with?

This is a common issue school tends to face in many of their partner and vendor relationships since they are a major source of data leaks in an organization. Under FERPA, data exposure will be considered to be breaking the law. According to FERPA, schools are held responsible for whatever the vendors might do with the data. This means if a vendor accidentally or intentionally misuses students’ education records, the school will be held responsible.

For instance, The University of York has experienced a crisis when its third party computing provider Blackbaud underwent a ransom attack. Student data like student ID numbers, names, email addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth, and physical addresses are business-critical data can come under risk.

SOLUTION: Before you enter into any business agreements and contracts is to vet all third-party resources thoroughly. For instance, if you hire an essay typer from an essay writer service, you will find their detailed privacy policy, and they will also mention in which instances only they can share that information with the third party. Keep an eye on any sources that come in free.

Question 2: Is my school or district FERPA compliant?

The answer to this questions will be helpful for the security problems you might be facing. FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) protects the privacy of students’ educational records. Improper data exposure of underage students and also for adults over 18 enrolled in education programs will only happens when schools don’t enforce proper security policies.

SOLUTION: Closely examine the cloud security posture to determine where the compliance could be, which includes  that may leak data without even letting you know about it. Zoom stands to be the No.1 choice for all the schools in U.S.A, which had to shut down due to COVID-19 and had to begin giving lessons online. It became a popular choice because it took all the precautionary steps for becoming FERPA-compliant from February 2018.

Question 3: How can my school improve protection in distance learning?

Apart from FERPA, there are other data privacy laws and regulations that schools must follow. COPRA, PRRA, and other laws and regulations aimed at protecting underage people from having their information shared improperly.RELATED POSTS

SOLUTION: Despite taking COPRA, FERP, and PPRA under control, there still may remain some security gaps. Parents and educators can maintain a safer digital environment for students by using watchdog group Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, a storehouse for a wealth of resources and information. State Student Privacy Report Card is one of the most valuable tools.

Question 4: Are schools maintaining the highest standards of encryption on systems, apps, databases, and other tech tools?

Since schools are using online modes of teaching, assigning tasks, interacting with students and parents, and grading their papers, schools must maintain the highest level of security. A few popular acronyms every school must use are TLS and AES. Not using proper encrypt data will cost a big sum of money and trust.

SOLUTION: Consistently check on the AES and TLS standards and correct the mistakes as soon as you find them.

Question 5: Do the Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) protection limit what providers can see once they collect the student information?

When the school shares information under FERPA’s school official exception, the provider cannot possibly use the FERPA protected information for any other purpose than for which it was disclosed. It also cannot re-use for any other purposes excepts if it has permission from FERPA.

Solution: Schools must pay attention while setting policies for protecting student privacy

Question 6: Which cloud based tools are being used by schools, and what makes them secure?

It varies from school to school of which cloud-based tools they want to use A lot of schools use learning management systems (LMS) where teachers post assignments, instructions, and link to resources for students and parents to get access. Schools also use various communication tools for emails or newsletters. All these are meant to provide remote learning to students, but it can be really unsafe if they are not secure.

Solution: The best online learning tool will be Zoom since its compliance with video conferencing in schools.


Online education will be a part of teachers, students and parent’s life for a long time. Learning should not be stopped, but there should be proper privacy security to ensure all the valuable data communicated and shared through online education software does not get leaked. It is the school’s responsibility that teachers continue their teaching and keep on learning in a safe environment.

AUTHOR BIO:  Frank is an IT manager at one of the most reputed IT firms in the USA. He is also associated with, where he offers engineering rate my paper to students. Very few people know that he is an excellent pianist.

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