How to Improve IoT Security in the Classroomby@zacamos
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How to Improve IoT Security in the Classroom

by Zac AmosFebruary 23rd, 2023
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In education, IoT devices are used in remote monitoring, smart classrooms, learning management systems, wearable tech and more. But as the number of connected devices increases, so do security risks. To mitigate risks, follow these tips: conduct regular security assessments, install security cameras, use secure passwords, update software, utilize encryption, monitor network activity, enable network segmentation, and educate students and staff.
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The Internet of Things refers to a network of devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items connected with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity, enabling them to exchange information.

IoT has revolutionized how individuals and organizations manage their activities and has also found its way into the education sector.

How IoT Devices Are Used in Education

IoT devices are used in several ways to enhance student’s learning experiences and improve educational institutions’ efficiency. Here are some ways education uses IoT devices:

  • Smart classrooms: IoT devices are used to create smart classrooms equipped with sensors, displays, and interactive whiteboards. These items enable teachers to control the lighting, temperature, and audio-visual equipment in the school, making it easier for them to deliver their lessons and for students to learn.

  • Wearable technology: Wearable devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and virtual reality (VR) headsets are used in education to create a more immersive learning experience.

    For example, VR headsets can transport students to different places in the world or even other parts of the universe, allowing them to experience things they would not otherwise be able to.

  • Learning management systems: IoT devices can be used in learning management systems (LMS), such as in-app educational tools that allow students and teachers to access materials and track progress. These systems can be accessed from anywhere and at any time, making it easier for students to continue their education even when they are not in the classroom.

  • Remote monitoring: IoT devices can monitor student progress and behavior in real-time, enabling teachers to provide personalized feedback and support to each student. This ensures every student is on track and receiving the support they need to succeed.

  • Predictive analytics: IoT devices can gather data on student performance and behavior, which can then be analyzed using predictive analytics. This information identifies patterns and trends and predicts future performance, helping teachers make more informed decisions about how to support students.

  • Asset management: IoT devices can manage and track the location of educational assets such as books, laptops, and other equipment. This ensures these assets are used effectively and efficiently to prevent theft and loss.

However, as the number of connected devices in an educational setting increases, so do the security risks. Schools must ensure the safety and privacy of students, staff, and data. Educational facilities can employ the following tips to improve IoT security in the classroom.

1. Conduct Regular Security Assessments

Regular security checks can identify vulnerabilities and help schools prioritize actions to mitigate risks. Classrooms can use penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and security audits to detect and address potential threats.

2. Install Security Cameras

Schools can also improve IoT security in the classroom by installing security cameras. Hackers may hide on university campuses, such as in parking lots or libraries. Using security cameras in strategic places can help identify the offenders in case of any breach.

3. Use Secure Passwords

Encourage students and staff to use strong and unique passwords for all connected devices in the classroom. For maximum security, default passwords should be changed, and only designated technical staff should have administrative access.

Institutions can use role-based device access to reduce security risks and grant users minimal entry necessary to complete their tasks.

4. Update Software

Regular system and software updates can fix known vulnerabilities and prevent unauthorized access to classroom devices. Schools must frequently update the latest firmware or software released on IoT devices.

Updates will also ensure classrooms are protected from newly discovered malware variants and known security flaws.

5. Utilize Encryption

Encrypting data in transit and at rest can prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. This can be accomplished using encryption protocols such as SSL/TLS or encrypted storage solutions.

Additionally, schools may rely on standard security programs and devices like payment gateways and email and cloud security. They provide the database encryption features needed to protect sensitive data.

6. Monitor Network Activity

Consider restricting access to designated maintenance windows and requiring suppliers to sign an acceptable use policy before granting network access. As much as feasible, keep an eye on vendor network activities and demand they confirm scheduled access in advance.

7. Enable Network Segmentation

Segmenting the network into smaller, isolated parts can prevent the spread of malware and unauthorized access. Include IoT technologies in routine IT security reviews and continuously monitor network activity to spot any traffic irregularities that might point to a security attack.

8. Educate Students and Staff

Educating students and staff about cybersecurity and IoT safety is critical in improving classroom security. Provide training on safe online behaviors, password protection, and phishing scam dangers.

Improve IoT Security in Classrooms

Schools can improve the security of their connected devices and protect their students, staff, and data from potential threats by following these practices. The increasing prevalence of IoT devices in the classroom makes it vital for learning environments to ensure students’ safety and privacy.