Tag: Skyward

The Value of Simulated Phishing: Guidance For Doing So

By Caroline Gilchrist, writer, Skyward, Inc.

Caroline Gilchrist

The sun has set on summer. But as an orange autumn moon rises to take its place, the waters of cyberspace only become more congested. Phishing, turns out, is always in season.

Want to give it a try?

I know—you’re one of the good guys, so why would you want to go phishing? The reason is simple: to prevent employees from being hooked down the line. Simulated phishing is a sort of catch-and-release method that can be an extremely valuable asset for IT leaders. Not only do simulated attacks remind employees to be ever vigilant while going through their inboxes, but they also give IT leaders a better idea of whether employees can effectively identify phishing attacks, or if they need additional training.

So, pull on your cap and waders. We’re going phishing!

Gear up

Before you let your line fly, it’s essential that you fully formulate your plan and discuss it with the leadership at your district. How often will you send out simulated attacks? What program will you use? How will you prepare your employees?

Don’t neglect that last one; making sure employees are up for the challenge is an important part of the process. After all, how can you expect them to identify phishing emails if they don’t know what to look for? Employees can learn to recognize and evade threats through online cybersecurity training programs. (This article gives a nice overview of several programs, including KnowBe4—our favorite.) Some of these programs include simulated phishing as well; no need to phish through a separate organization!

If you haven’t already, set up an easy way for employees to report phishing, ideally both to your email provider and your IT team. If your district’s email platform doesn’t have a simple way to report to the IT team, you can set up an inbox for employees to forward suspicious messages to (for example, report@schooldistrict.com).

It’s best to keep your plan to simulate phishing under wraps in the beginning. An unannounced baseline test is a helpful way to truly gauge susceptibility to attacks. However, after your first simulation, explain the phishing drill to everyone! Open communication is vital to maintaining trust between leaders and those they lead.

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Beware These 5 Data Security Threats During Remote Learning

By Casey Thompson, digital media manager, Skyward, Inc.

Casey Thompson

Hackers take advantage of the worst-case scenario.

Pandemics, terrorism, and natural disasters bring disruption and distractions, perfect opportunities for people to infiltrate lowered security while our attention is directed elsewhere. Here are five data security bases to cover during your pandemic response.

Network security

While it’s true our home wireless networks are under more stress than ever before, don’t sacrifice security for convenience. These network breaches are some of the easiest for hackers to pull off.

No public Wi-Fi: The biggest risk to networks comes from unsecured Wi-Fi connections in public places, like restaurants. Ideally, choose password protected Wi-Fi from a home network. This option may be out of reach for some—even free internet offers for students are falling short in some cases, requiring families’ unpaid bills to be settled before the option is extended to the student. Other secure options may include a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.

Internet of things: Disconnect devices that don’t require Wi-Fi to function (appliances, etc). Even if Wi-Fi helps them function more conveniently, consider disconnecting them temporarily to minimize the opportunities to infiltrate your network.

Multi-factor authentication: More organizations are moving toward MFA in all cases, but particularly for remote work, ensure the devices connecting to the network belong to actual people within your organization.

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Skyward Becomes A Google for Education Build Partner

Image result for skyward logo

Skyward, an administrative software provider committed to a better experience for every user, is proud to announce it has become a Google for Education Build Partner. As a Google for Education Build Partner, Skyward will soon enable educators to conduct real-time grade syncs from Google Classroom to Skyward’s Gradebook solution in a beta program.

Keeping student data synced between Google Classroom and student information systems has been a key issue facing administrators and instructors. With this exciting new collaboration, school districts using Skyward’s SIS will be able to sync assignments and grades from Google Classroom directly into Skyward’s Gradebook solution, saving teachers valuable time.

“We are thrilled to become a Google for Education Build Partner and soon provide a new capability that many of our customers have been looking forward to,” explained Scott Glinski, CEO of Skyward. “Between our collaboration with Google for Education on the grade sync beta program, Ed-Fi data standards, and OneRoster 1.1 certification, we hope to continue leading the interoperability movement for student information systems.”

The integration between Skyward and Google Classroom will also eliminate the need for double grade entries, reduce the number of tools teachers need to master, and lessen the possibility for error in grade entries.

“Our collaboration with Google for Education is about saving time for teachers, so they can focus on what matters most—students,” explained Kevin Duda, director of product management at Skyward. “By providing one place to enter data, teachers can be more confident in their data while continuing to use the tools that work best for their needs.”

For more information, visit www.skyward.com/k-12 and fill out the interest form for the Classroom grade sync beta program here.

Skyward’s SIS Helping Schools Create Safe and Secure Learning Environment

Are K–12 schools fully prepared for today’s digital and physical emergencies? According to a recent federal report, schools are becoming safer, partially through the proactive use of technology. Skyward, an administrative software provider committed to a better experience for every user, is helping lead improvements by encouraging school leaders to leverage an existing tool, their student information systems, to amp up security and ensure protection of their sensitive data.

Although statistics suggest schools are becoming safer, a recent poll indicates parents feel schools are less safe today than they were 20 years ago. Skyward’s SIS aims to alleviate those concerns by giving parents the ability to provide student information such as protection orders against unwanted visitors and reunification instructions to ensure students are paired with the correct guardian in the event of an emergency. Parents can also enter vital health information regarding student allergies and medications, which school staff can view and act on during medical emergencies.

“Skyward continues to help us keep students safe with speed and accuracy—the two most important factors during an emergency,” said Jacque Deckard, data management coordinator at Mooresville School Corporation in Indiana.

Skyward’s SIS also provides a real-time notification system, which can send important messages to students, parents, and staff during an emergency. Additionally, school leaders can set up an anonymous tip line within the notification system, offering individuals the opportunity to report incidents such as bullying, self-harm, and possible threats to the school.

“It’s important for our students, parents, and faculty to be heard and feel comfortable. Thanks to Skyward, this is possible because they can remain anonymous and still voice safety concerns,” said Lora Lovelace, data management coordinator at Center Grove Community Schools in Indiana.

While physical threats are at the forefront of security concerns, Skyward is continuing to protect districts against data breaches as well. In 2019, dozens of cybersecurity incidents have affected K-12 schools, and 122 similar breaches occurred at schools in 2018. By partnering with ISCorp, a hosting solution, Skyward offers districts the opportunity to host their sensitive information on a secure cloud service, which provides 24/7 monitoring and fail-safe backups.

“When students and faculty walk through school doors, they deserve to feel safe and confident their information is protected,” said Scott Glinski, CEO of Skyward. “As a system that many districts use, we recognize our role as part of the solution, which is why we will continue evolving our software to defend against all threats, both digital and physical.”