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Managing I.T. during the Coronavirus

The coronavirus is forcing schools to rapidly transform instruction from classroom learning to online platforms. As I.T. workers rush to meet these new demands, they must remember three important things to smooth the transition:


1. Emphasize cybersecurity. If schools were vulnerable to cyber criminals and careless behaviors before the outbreak, the explosion of inexperienced students and staff engaging in new online activities makes the risks of unauthorized data breaches even higher. Whether your district has a formal program or not, communications to students and staff must emphasize basic principles of cybersecurity. For example, remind people to use strong credentials, do not share passwords and never transmit personally identifiable information over regular email. And if you don’t already have one, now would be a great time to implement a cybersecurity awareness training program.


2. Get help. Dozens of reputable businesses are standing by to assist schools in the transition from traditional instruction to online learning. The ESCNJ Technology Marketplace has dozens of preapproved options ready-to-buy, from Internet service providers, to online learning academies, to technology consulting companies. Let the professionals help you do this right.


3. Slow down. If something doesn’t seem right, call a time out. Things are happening so fast right now the likelihood of errors and unintended consequences is very high. In addition, government officials are still trying to figure out key aspects of these policies, and directives may change rapidly. Children won’t get sick if they can’t login for a day or two until you figure things out. But a rush to online learning without proper planning lead to data breaches or security incidents, and that’s the last thing you need to deal with right now.


Life in the United States will return to normal soon enough. In the meantime, don’t make things worse by caving to pressure and implementing knee-jerk reactions without proper foresight.


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