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Every organisation with a digital component should do its utmost to ensure data privacy and security. And with schools holding an abundance of confidential student, pupil, staff and parental personal data, the education sector is especially keen to ensure that it can meet these requirements.

A project team from the USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand has spent the last 18 months working on a set of security standards incorporating all the privacy and child safety requirements across these areas. This team, the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC), a Special Interest Group of the non-profit Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community, has brought together not only educational representatives from the different regions but also EdTech vendors whose technology products are in use in schools across the world every day.

The group has developed a set of standards (based on ones already used internationally) for schools and edtech vendors to use, called the Global Education Security Standard (GESS).

NetSupport’s Information Governance Lead, Tony Sheppard, participated in the project. He comments:

“The GESS framework allows us, as a global EdTech vendor providing software and services to schools, colleges, local government and the wider public sector, to map our existing approaches to security and data protection against the wide range of standards and frameworks, covering approaches based on local legislation as well as international codes, and allow educational institutes to openly review and assess what we do.

 

“As well as enabling the mapping to take place, it can also highlight our gaps and in which regions it may affect our compliance. I can’t think of a more comprehensive tool for EdTech vendors to use as part of a continuous cycle of security improvements and providing demonstrable information on good practices.”

Helping to align the privacy obligations of the school community and the technology products they use to keep education data secure is a priority. These standards will help to provide better protection for everyone’s data.