Cyber-Security: Are You Doing All You Can?

We are all vulnerable to cyber attacks but for varying reasons but education, specifically K-12, is at the bottom rung when compared to private and public sectors in managing their cyber security.  Due to the sensitive nature of student enrollment forms and personal information shared in the student records, it is critical to have a plan and work that plan to avoid being vulnerable to such attacks.

Here are few suggestions to get your district on its way to a safer cyber environment:

• Make sure to provide your staff and volunteers with the tools to stay diligent to suspicious emails to avoid Phishing scams
• Update your anti-virus and anti-malware software
• Incorporate a network redundancy and backup recovery plans

Cyber-security is not something to “get to” in the future, it’s an immediate risk and needs to be made a necessity to building a secure future for our students and districts.

4 benefits automated data sharing can have for your schools

Schools are mandated by law to frequently share student information with parents for a myriad of different reasons, from permission slips to vaccination records. Regardless of the reason, schools should have a cost-efficient and reliable system in place to ensure files are delivered securely and on time. As managing paper records and using traditional mailing methods to send these important documents can be expensive and risky, districts will benefit from implementing an electronic data sharing solution. Here are four of the benefits most schools see after digitizing their data sharing strategies.

1. Comply with FERPA
Schools must adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which requires that schools provide access to documents no longer than 45 days after parents or students have requested them. When administrators rely on traditional mailing and have to gather the appropriate student data from a sea of paperwork, they’re at risk of failing to deliver the files within this time frame. This is especially true if administrators haven’t been efficient with updating the student records with new data. If they aren’t able to provide the information within the set time period, they may also be at risk of losing government and state funding.

Systems such as ParentShare Gateway and Central Records Gateway are able to automate access and/or electronically deliver student reports and documents. Schools don’t have to worry about forms taking too long in the mail. It’s also easy to add new information and reports to existing records. After all, timely delivery is only half the battle when it comes to adhering to FERPA, as student data must be entirely accurate. Online student solutions ensure this is possible before and after the requested information is shared with parents.

Sharing digital files eliminates many of the risks associated with mailing paper documents to parents.Sharing digital files eliminates many of the risks associated with mailing paper documents to parents.

“Paper records have traditionally been considered accurate, although not necessarily complete or accessible,” explained the National Center for Education Statistics. “Maintaining data quality as information is shared, analyzed and reported is a characteristic of a well-designed [online] system.”

2. Engage parents
According to research conducted by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, when parents are involved in their children’s academic performance, students do better in school and are even healthier overall. However, mailing key information, such as progress reports, puts this data at risk of being lost or not being shared with parents. When these files are delivered electronically to parents’ email addresses, these risks are eliminated. This ultimately enhances communication between parents, their children and the school.

Research has shown that parent engagement doesn’t only benefit students. It’s also found that teachers and principals are more likely to have higher morale and an increase in job satisfaction, according to 2010 research article  “Home-School Relations: Working Successfully with Parents and Families” by Dr. Glen Olsen and Dr. Mary Lou Fuller. The research also pointed to the fact that schools that strive for good parent-teacher relationships also establish better reputations among the community and have higher-quality school programs compared to schools without engaged parents.

“Printing and mailing can end up costing your schools thousands of dollars.”

3. Save on costs
There are a number of ways in which schools save when they implement an automated student data sharing system. Santa Rose City Schools in California, for example, recently reported that it costs them about $2,500 to mail one round of report cards to parents, according to The Press Democrat. Printing and mailing can end up costing your schools thousands of dollars that could be spent on student programs and other important investments.

Online data sharing solutions also free up staff members who would be organizing and mailing paperwork, allowing them to take on other tasks. Electronic file sharing also mitigates the risk of losing funding as a result of failure to comply with FERPA.

4. Secure transfers
When sensitive student data is sent through the mail, it’s always at risk of getting lost or winding up in the wrong hands. ParentShare Gateway features password protection so only authorized school personnel, students and parents can gain access. This is essential as schools work to comply to privacy regulations like FERPA and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Central Records Gateway expands on the secure collection of student documents by making all information pertaining to each child individually and constantly accessible to their guardian through an online password-protected portal.

Phishing scams 101: Tips for protecting student data

Phishing scams 101: Tips for protecting student data


In the digital age, technology is continuing to change and enhance almost every aspect of our lives. Schools in particular have benefited considerably from the introduction of digital platforms, which are increasingly replacing outdated paperless solutions. Platforms, such as school admissions software, can streamline the complex and detailed process of registration and store valuable patient data in a convenient and accessible way.

As with any data storage platform, however, sensitive information is vulnerable to theft from cybercriminals. According to Digital Guardian, cyber attacks have grown in frequency in recent years, and particularly phishing attacks, which your school district could be at risk from.

“Cyber attacks have grown in frequency in recent years.”

What is a phishing scam?
Phishing scams involve the theft of protected data which can enable the criminal to steal an individual’s identity. As Microsoft explained, phishing scams are highly sophisticated attacks that target individuals. They work like this: a school administrator may receive a faux email from an ostensibly reputable source, such as the principle or superintendent. The email will contain a URL link or attachment, which the recipient will be instructed to open or download. If the victim complies with the directions, the attachment or link will install malicious software on his or her computer, allowing the criminal to steal the protected student data.

Student information is particularly valuable to a cyber criminal because it may contain parental information such as home addresses and social security numbers. Sometimes a criminal will access the protected data in the same way, but instead of stealing the information will instead hold it hostage. This is known as a ransomware attack.

While phishing scams are somewhat rare, given the uptick in incidences in recent times, it’s important to be prepared. Here are a list of tips.

The number of nationwide phishing scams is increasing. The number of nationwide phishing scams is increasing.

How to avoid phishing scams

  • Educate all of your staff about how to recognize a potential phishing scam. There are usually a number of telltale signs that an email is inauthentic, Microsoft argued. Firstly, the email may contain a high number of grammatical errors. This is a big red flag that the message is from a malicious source, as most professional or official emails are checked for spelling errors. The second sign is to feel out what may seem unusual. Phishing emails will typical ask the victim to surrender important data, Norton reported. This may seem odd, especially if the supposed sender – such as the superintendent for example – hasn’t made such a request before. Staff should be instructed to always double check that an email is authentic before complying with instructions.
  • Hold routine training seminars to ensure that everyone is educated on your school district’s cyber security protocols.
  • Ensure that each school has an up-to-date and comprehensive cyber security infrastructure in place. This includes platforms such as anti-virus software and firewalls, Panda Security explained.
  • Have experts come in and routinely inspect the IT system for any problems or potential security threats.
  • Stay calm and exercise common sense. Most scams are easily recognizable. Use a level head and best judgment.

SRC Solutions, Inc. Integrates Surety’s AbsoluteProof into its Registration Gateway Student Enrollment System

AbsoluteProof provides authentication and data integrity assurance to Registration Gateway customers.

“Proper data integrity protection controls are essential in making a paperless environment perform flawlessly,” said Patrick Maher, Founder and CEO of SRC Solutions, Inc. “

Reston, VA – September 1, 2011 — Surety, LLC, the leading provider of digital protection solutions, and SRC Solutions, Inc., a provider of technologies for improved productivity and profitability for educational, government and private industry customers, announced their partnership to aid student registration processes for local school districts. Under the agreement, SRC Solutions has integrated Surety’s AbsoluteProof Service into its Registration Gateway system, SRC’s flagship offering that is designed to streamline the student registration process, eliminate paper, minimize data inaccuracies and reduce administrative time and costs.

The integration enables school districts to prove the authenticity of their electronic student records should they ever be legally challenged. AbsoluteProof digitally timestamps (or “seals”) each student record, capturing the exact time and date it was created, and providing an independent means to prove that the records have not been changed or altered since the time they were “sealed.” This sealing process allows records and their data to be protected for the entirety of their existence. The SRC and Surety partnership is already providing systems and services to multiple school districts in all major markets and geographies throughout the country.

“Electronic record systems have been deployed by all types of businesses over the years, and school districts are no exception,” said Jim O’Connor, president and CEO of Surety. “One thing all of these systems share, regardless of industry, is the need for effective, long-term and independent electronic data integrity protection controls. We’re thrilled to be working with SRC Solutions, who recognizes this need, and is using AbsoluteProof in its Registration Gateway solution to provide its customers with the best available solution.”

By partnering with Surety, data and information that is collected and stored within Registration Gateway, such as a student’s personal and educational track records and supporting documents (which typically can equal over 200 pages of hard copy documents over the course of an undergraduate education), will be recorded in a paperless environment with its integrity maintained. AbsoluteProof allows users of the system, such as school administrators and student guardians, to be certain of and assured in the fact that the data and records are collectively recorded and secured in a reliable environment, and have not been altered – maliciously or inadvertently – since their creation.

“Proper data integrity protection controls are essential in making a paperless environment perform flawlessly,” said Patrick Maher, Founder and CEO of SRC Solutions, Inc. “Surety’s AbsoluteProof provides Registration Gateway customers with the necessary controls, and allows all parties within the education system, such as guardians, teachers, and administrators to collaborate, and successfully record and monitor the careers of their students.”

About Surety, LLC Founded in 1994 by leading Bellcore Scientists, Surety is the leading independent, digital time-stamp authority (TSA) to the life sciences, R&D and education markets. With millions of electronic records and files worldwide protected under its authenticity Seal, the company’s flagship service offering, AbsoluteProof, enables organizations to meet the legal, fiduciary and regulatory responsibilities associated with creating, managing and archiving electronic records, files and data by providing legally-defensible evidence of data integrity and authenticity. AbsoluteProof ensures against content tampering by providing a “digital wax seal” for all types of electronically stored information. For more information, visit

About SRC Solutions, Inc. Founded in 2001, SRC Solutions, Inc. provides a gateway to improved productivity and profitability for educational, government and private industry customers. SRC’s flagship solution, Registration Gateway, enables schools and other higher learning educational institutions and organizations to save time and money from paperless enrollment, downstream reporting, compliance and document tracking. SRC identifies cumbersome, repetitive, counter-productive work procedures and replaces them with easy-to-use, intuitive solutions and streamlined digital processes. As a XEROX®Platinum Partner and an authorized reseller for Kofax, Surety and Recruit Manager, SRC provides solutions for both the public and private sector, including document management, workflow improvement and integration into numerous ERP systems. SRC Solutions, Inc.: Where process meets technology. For more information, please visit SRC Solutions at



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