New Research from Absolute Underscores Complexities, Gaps in K-12 Device and Data Security Driven by Accelerated Shift to Distance Learning
Absolute® (ABT.TO), the leader in Endpoint Resilience™ solutions, today announced new research revealing significant spikes in remote management and collaboration application usage in K-12 organizations following the shift to distance learning, putting already-vulnerable schools at even greater risk of a cyber attack. The second annual report, titled "Distance Learning's Impact on Education IT," examines the effects of rapid digital transformation and the sudden shift to remote learning on K-12 device health, security, and usage in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
From January to May 2020, Absolute's anonymized endpoint data shows the use of remote management and collaboration apps in K-12 schools increased 87 percent and 141 percent, respectively. The education sector experienced a record number of ransomware attacks in 2019, according to the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, while schools across the US have experienced ransomware attacks and shutdown of critical systems in the first few weeks of the 2020-21 school year.
Recent industry insights show that 75 percent of US schools plan to operate via a completely remote or hybrid learning model this school year, and 80 percent either have purchased or plan to purchase additional devices to enable remote learning. It is therefore critical that education IT teams have solutions in place that are capable of delivering the insights needed to ensure students and staff are protected as well as demonstrate the success of distance learning programs.
"This is an unprecedented time for education, and the student experience is unlikely to stabilize in the foreseeable future," said Christy Wyatt, President and CEO of Absolute. "The most successful approaches to learning will embrace it in all forms, whether remote, in-person, or hybrid. Operational agility is the new critical capability for all IT teams, to be able to respond to canging conditions and seamlessly transition between models. And, having a permanent connection to every device - enabling complete visibility into where devices are, their usage, and the state of their security controls - is vital to protecting vulnerable students and staff."
Absolute's Web Usage analytics provide detailed insights into device and application usage to help schools understand student engagement levels, drive better learning outcomes, and identify valuable or underused learning resources. The report's findings show that as of May 1, 2020, 40 percent of student device usage was spent on education and online learning platforms, and 27 percent was dedicated to consuming entertainment and video content. This includes time spent on YouTube (News - Alert), which is often used for educational purposes.
Other key insights from the report include:
Education IT teams face significant challenges with tracking and managing devices, software, and applications remotely.
Network-based security controls are proving to be largely ineffective in remote environments with increasingly savvy students.
A full version of the report, "Distance Learning's Impact on Education IT?," is available for download here. To learn more about Absolute's undeletable defense platform enables always-connected visibility and Self-Healing Endpoint® security for thousands of educational organizations across the globe, visit www.absolute.com.
This report leverages anonymized data from millions of Absolute-enabled devices active across approximately 10,000 schools and districts in North America and Europe. Absolute is committed to customer and student privacy and data protection; only anonymized, de-identified data was used in this study.
Absolute is the leader in Endpoint Resilience solutions and the industry's only undeletable defense platform, embedded in over a half-billion devices. Enabling a permanent digital tether between the endpoint and the enterprise who distributed it, Absolute provides IT and Security organizations with complete connectivity, visibility, and control, whether a device is on or off the corporate network, and empowers them with Self-Healing Endpoint® security to ensure mission-critical apps remain healthy and deliver intended value. For the latest information, visit www.absolute.com and follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
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