CoSN Issues New Report on ‘Security and Privacy of Cloud Computing’

Latest EdTechNext Report Details How Districts Should Address ‘Cloud’ Risks and Realities
Washington, DC
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Washington, DC (January 23, 2013) – The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released a new EdTechNext Report, titled “Security and Privacy of Cloud Computing.” The new report examines the privacy, security and regulatory compliance impacts of “Software-as-a-Service” (SaaS) cloud computing, and provides district leaders with information on strengthening their networks and protecting against constant threats. CoSN’s EdTechNext Reports are a series of mini-reports developed to keep educators updated on the latest technology trends and their educational value.

“With nearly 90 percent of K-12 institutions reporting the use of one or more cloud-based applications, nearly every school system nationwide must understand the potential challenges and opportunities associated with working ‘in the cloud,’” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “By clearly defining the cloud computing landscape, the latest EdTechNext publication identifies how district leaders can enhance their network’s privacy and security, as well as educate students and staff on the acceptable, responsible use of this technology.”

The report outlines common security and privacy risks that schools face with SaaS – information stored on the Internet and managed by others – including data breach, data loss (or leakage), password reuse, and the collection and aggregation of personally identifiable data. Understanding these risks and realities make it imperative that schools evaluate their cloud security, privacy and compliance, giving particular consideration to service level agreements (SLAs) with specialized cloud vendors. Specifically, when considering a SLA, the report advises school leaders to assess the following vendor services:

  • Availability (e.g., Does the provider offer a guaranteed service level?);
  • Security (e.g., Does the provider use SSL encryption on all pages?);
  • Legal and regulatory (e.g., Where is the data hosted and is there a contract?);
  • Privacy (e.g., Carefully analyzing the collection, use, protection and sharing of policies).

In addition, the report provides an overview of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and urges district leaders to understand these policies to help minimize the real and potential risks of cloud computing.

The report coincides with Data Privacy Day, which is held every year on January 28. Through advocacy efforts from across the education technology sector, the day seeks to empower people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint. To learn more, please visit: www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/about.

Sponsors of the new EdTechNext Report are Adobe, Comcast, Gartner, GlobalScholar, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, HP, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, Lightspeed Systems, Pearson, PolyVision, Qualcomm, SAS, SchoolDude, SMART Technologies and Wireless Generation.

The reports are only available to CoSN members. For media contacts interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the latest report, please contact Michael Kaplun at michaelkaplun@cosn.org or Jennifer Cummings at jcummings@cosn.org.

To learn more about this report and previous reports, including one on different types of cloud computing, please visit www.cosn.org/EdTechNext.

To learn more about CoSN or to become a member, please visit www.cosn.org.

About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit www.cosn.org or phone 866.267.8747 to find out more about CoSN’s Leadership Initiatives, annual conference and events, policy and advocacy, membership, and resources.

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