Protecting Chromebooks Off Campus

Image via ClassThink

Image via ClassThink

Chromebooks are one of the most popular additions to classrooms in the last few years. Many schools around the country are giving them to students or letting them buy it and keep it for all their schooling needs. With that sense of responsibility, it comes with showing children how to use it best and keep it safe. Here are a few tips.

Physical Security

One school district that uses Chromebooks allows their students to take them home if needed, and were worried that if they did so, someone would break it by dropping it. Their solution was to put in laptop in a rugged case and requires students and parents to sign an acceptable-use policy.

Rules governing home use include keeping the device away from pets and siblings who could damage it and keeping the Chromebook in a carrying case (other than the rugged case) when transporting it to and from school. These are great ways to keep it nice and safe.

At this school district, off campus, students are required to keep the Chromebooks in their possession always, and keep their passwords secure. They also must acknowledge that they are financially responsible for any damage.

Another great way to keep it secure is laser engraving. By laser engraving the name of the school or the student on the case and on the Chromebook will deter potential thieves from taking the laptops, as well as helping people return them if they are lost. It’s an extra blanket of security that can make a huge difference.

Chrome OS for Digital Security

Viruses, malware and phishing scams are top concerns, but with Chromebooks and the G Suite apps, they protect against those security threats.

Chromebooks are secure out of the box because they don’t run on traditional operating systems. The Chrome OS automatically updates with the latest security fixes.  Each open tab is sandboxed or isolated, so threats are contained. If malware escapes the sandbox or if the browser is tampered with or corrupted, the Chromebook can detect it on startup and repair itself with a clean version of the browser.

Google also filters spam through Gmail and protects against malware and phishing attacks by warning students that links in their email may direct them to insecure sites.

Furthermore, G Suite apps encrypt data while the data is in transit or at rest. Cloud-based apps ensure that student data and privacy are protected. When students log in, they can access their apps and files. When they log out, the data is stored in the cloud and is not accessible locally.

Along with Chrome OS protections, schools can decide what apps are approved and what aren’t, as well as web filters and monitoring of sites.

Responsible Internet Use

Many schools block out social networking sites, sets email restrictions, and teach students about responsible use.

Parents also play a role in their children’s safety by reminding them to not reveal personal information online. At home, parents can also help students learn to be responsible online by monitoring their children’s Chromebook use and checking their internet history on occasion.

Here are some other ways to simplify Chromebook Management

  1. Track Chromebooks with asset tags. Sioux Falls School District in South Dakota installs asset tags with barcodes on each Chromebook. When the IT staff issues devices to students, they record the information in a financial database.
  2. Take advantage of white-glove services. Your technology provider can install asset tags and preconfigure settings, such as enrolling them into the district’s domain before shipping the devices to the district.
  3. Ask staff at each school site to do screen repairs. Replacing screens makes up 80 percent of all Chromebook repairs. It’s simple. You unscrew the broken screen and screw in the new one. The more complex repairs will go to the central IT office. But having school staff makes screen repairs will save IT staff time.

If your school uses Chromebooks or is thinking about switching, using these tips could help a lot.

(Story via EdTech)

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