A Lack of Machines
Tensions are already high as the 2020-2021 school year begins. With every school seeming to have a different plan for learning in the time of COVID, many seem to be sticking to the distance learning model they employed at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. While plans have been imperfect, what is understood across the board is the need for more devices.
Even schools returning to in person learning have a plan in place for when they’ll need to revert to a distance model. Each of those plans hinges on laptops. Distance learning isn’t possible without them.
And yet, the three biggest computer companies, HP, Lenovo, and Dell, have all reported that they’re in a nearly 5 million device deficit. Between the increased need, and the Trump administration’s sanctions on necessary Chinese parts, the demand far outweighs the supply.
While school districts are scrambling to get the laptops they need, many distance learners this fall will have to rely on personal devices. There are only so many school provided machines, and those will go to students without any access at all.
Personal Device Security
As we’ve mentioned in many blog posts since March, personal devices pose a problem. A successful phishing attempt on a personal email account can give a hacker a backdoor into an educational institution’s files. An unprotected laptop can easily pick up a virus that finds its way into the school’s server.
IT directors at educational institutions are already busy, but the effort to secure schools with distance learning in place is becoming overwhelming already. Meanwhile, administrators are trying to make the best decisions to keep students healthy.
You can help protect data by making sure you have a great antivirus product. Educate yourself on the latest issues with malware and phishing scams. Make sure to change passwords regularly. Additionally, you’ll want to keep all your security patches up-to-date.
If your student has to use a personal device this year, keep them safe. As schools navigate the new challenges both in person and online, they’ll need all the support they can get. Let’s keep our data as protected as our health this year.
As always, stay safe out there.
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