BEING A TRUSTED SERVICE PROVIDER DURING A CRISIS IS MORE THAN PROVIDING A PRODUCT
There appears to be a great divide between schools who are prepared for using remote environments to cater to unforeseen changes, and those who are not.
Ensuring your school is working with highly secure platforms that provide server security and the protection of your data is critical. School IT staff are tackling huge issues right now. Discussions on school IT forums include the sudden adoption of videoconferencing services with potential privacy issues, for example.
This is the time for school top management teams to slow down, take a deep breath and listen to your IT leader and privacy person, so you can:
- Act responsibly and make the right decisions based on student data protection
- Undertake “real” risk assessments of your tech providers
- Listen to your community and address their concerns (including obtaining their consent)
I fondly recall attending a school IT Director meeting in the early days and a well-regarded Principal from a leading independent school stood up and kicked off the meeting saying “…compliance must be at the heart of any decision, anything short of that and you are not doing your job”.
Schools that have done the appropriate level of due diligence when selecting their tech providers have chosen those who clearly tick all the boxes when it comes to security, safety and privacy of their school data. It should not be the responsibility of a school to become the software and hosting provider expert, but for them to partner with such experts to deliver the appropriate measures and meet the highest standards to secure their systems, data and servers.
Lead the way by selecting tech partners that deliver the very best in IT security and privacy
The understanding that in these times schools are in possession of so much private and sensitive information, means the compliance responsibility of IT leaders (who are now leading the charge in managing the only communication channels to families and students) has increased substantially. That is why it is important that schools conduct the right level of careful examination to ensure they are partnering with the best tech professionals, and ensure IT leaders have a seat at the leadership table.
A time of crisis is not just a time of anxiety and worry. It gives a chance, an opportunity, to choose well or to choose badly. – Desmond Tutu
Part of analysing which tech provider to select for your school should include finding out if they have the highest level of certification. The ISO27001 certificate proves that a provider is a premier data centre, as opposed to one that is just covering minimum requirements. Receiving this certificate demonstrates that a company has implemented security best practices for protecting information and managing risk – which is what you want when it comes to your school’s data.
Our clients chose our platform after conducting such due diligence on our product and analysing it against other offerings on the market because, unlike other options available, pixevety:
- uses local private data centres with the highest certification
- is registered as an Australian Privacy Principle (APP) compliant company
- was built using privacy-by-design (PbD) engineering.
As a privacy company, we asked ourselves during the design phase “should we offer schools a photo management solution for both on-prem and off?”. As our core business was, and continues to be, the protection of child images, and after rigorous investigation which uncovered that on-prem places all the maintenance and liability responsibility back on to school IT teams, we concluded investing in commercial-grade ISO-certified private data centres based in Australia provided our schools an extra layer of protection, expertise and support. School IT departments who partner with pixevety don’t need to worry about things like:
- When to update the software
- When to update their servers
- Whether personal data is being encrypted both at transit and rest
- That the tech is safe and secure, even during natural disasters (like fire)
With the Australian Education sector continuing to have a poor track record for breach notifications, the majority occurring from malicious or criminal attack (mainly cyber-attack) followed by human error, it is vital schools’ partner with the best service providers who offer both the tech and expertise to fight such battles.
How pixevety is ‘pivoting’ to better support schools
pixevety is currently being used by schools to protect hundreds and thousands of children’s images.
Although most schools are experiencing around 90 per cent drop in student presence at school to remote learning, this does not mean the workload or deadlines of administration staff has diminished. If anything, this is the time staff will work on tangible long-term projects, from school or home, to improve the way a school delivers offline and online services. We have seen pixevety school galleries used heavily during this crisis as staff use it to easily and safely log into their normal gallery environments from any internet connection. Whilst the gallery remains in the control of the school, all the heavy processing is done by pixevety, so even a modest computer can safely and privately navigate and work on files from home. Our new iOS app is also being leveraged to enable staff to bypass their own personal devices when capturing and storing school media. The new app also allows students, with the permission of their parents, to share their work remotely with teachers using a private platform.
Working with pixevety is a long-term partnership and we continue to be there for our customers whenever they need us. We listen and adapt our platform development to further support schools working remotely. We can uniquely assist schools to easily share and communicate with their staff, student and parent communities using private media galleries as a main medium. This means that when a school invites a user to connect to their school gallery, they can easily:
- share relevant documents (photos, videos, pdfs…basically any file format)
- and perform specific functions (download, share, acquire, flag, share notes)
Our solution is perfect for schools needing to quickly share large files with specific audiences in a safe, private and secure online environment. For new customers, your school gallery can be set up and running in just hours or days (depending on readiness and resourcing).
New features coming soon
Our tech team are working hard to deliver the following new features to all our existing clients:
- Video streaming
- Flipbook viewer for pdf, doc, xls, ppt and txt documents
- Greater rendering speed to ensure users see the documents they just uploaded faster
- Sharing function for all file types so a secured and encrypted email link can be sent from within pixevety to students etc. for them to easily download working documents.
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. – Marie Curie
Although we are all struggling through this crisis, we continue to be inspired seeing how our valued community is adapting and supporting each other. We have had schools call us, asking how we are, and we very much appreciate those calls. They mean more than we can express! And we are checking in with them to see where we can assist.
As always, we are here ready to help.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. My name is Colin Anson and I am the Co-Founder & CEO of pixevety, a privacy-driven media management platform for schools and families. Please stay safe and well.