In addition to not keeping up with the number of breaches, the 2009 CDW-G School Safety Index also found that many schools aren’t properly utilizing the solutions that they already have at their disposal.
While the percentage of schools using surveillance cameras rose from 70 percent in 2008 to 79 percent in 2009, half of these districts only used the cameras to monitor outside areas. Nearly 92 percent of school districts are also using some type of data encryption to protect information on their computer networks, but 40 percent of respondents said they spend just four hours or less per month reviewing their school’s Internet activity.
To address these deficiencies, Fiel advises school districts to conduct security assessments to determine what their risks are and to also have someone come in and check to make sure that all of their security and safety systems are working properly.
“I think first of all (school security staff) need to collaborate with their peers in different schools. One of the nice things about the education space is that it’s a very collaborative profession. We’ve had customers that have spoken out in our study to talk about the things that they do,” Kirby said. “There are also tools available. Our school safety index is a great tool where they can evaluate their own situation, compare it against the rest of the population, and use that to build a case of ‘here’s where we stand and here’s where we need to make some improvements,’ and have some data to back it on.”