School districts need to respond to the massive increase in Google Meet use

It’s a new day. While cyber safety and security are critical for school districts all the time, the massive shift to remote learning is making monitoring Google Meet to keep students safe and districts compliant extremely difficult for K-12 IT teams.

G Suite for Education is an outstanding suite of tools for schools, teachers, and students. It offers immense value for learning, whether classes take place in schools or remotely. It’s become invaluable in supporting remote learning and working. School districts need to respond to this shift in system use to keep their student safe, data secure, and districts compliant with data privacy regulations. One area that is now raising concerns with this is monitoring Google Meet. District leaders (and parents) are concerned about the cyber safety and student data privacy implications of using Google Meet for remote classrooms and group collaboration.

While the Google Admin Console provides good activity information, using it can often be difficult and time-consuming. This is because it often produces fragmented data, making investigating cybersecurity risks and student safety issues difficult. Further, there is critical information that can’t be exported and analyzed without the use of BigQuery and/or creating scripts. Not everyone knows how to do these things—and even fewer have the time or patience.

[WEBINAR ON-DEMAND] CYBER SAFETY & SECURITY IN GOOGLE MEET & CHAT. LEARN & SECURE >>

What is Google Meet?

Google Meet is a central part of G Suite for Education. In early April 2020, Google integrated Classroom and Meet, allowing teachers to access both tools in one place. Teachers can use Google Meet to connect with their students using Meet links, which act as a dedicated meeting space for each class in remote learning environments.

During this coronavirus crisis, Google has also added access to premium Meet features at no cost to schools until September 30, 2020. As a result, teachers can hold meetings for up to 250 participants at one time. They can also live stream for up to 100,000 viewers within the school’s domain, record meetings, and save those meetings to Google Drive.

Monitoring Google Meet with Meet Quality Tool

The Meet Quality Tool is the native solution for monitoring Google Meet. The main purpose of it is to assist in troubleshooting. For example, if a teacher is experiencing problems with the Meet, the system admin can use the Meet Quality Tool to identify where there may be problems with its operation. The type of Meet monitoring information it provides includes:

  • Summary of Meetings: Including meeting code, organizer, start day, duration, number of participants. As well as quality data such as network congestion, packet loss, jitter, and participant feedback score
  • Individual Meeting Details: Such as participant email address, when each one joined and left, time for screen sharing by participant, and quality data such as resolution, frame rate, bit rate, and packet loss
  • A list of all participants for all meetings, the last meeting they attended, start time, duration, location and meeting quality metrics
  • A list of all devices used to join meetings

While this information can be helpful for troubleshooting, it isn’t always as helpful as some district Google admins would like it to be. For example, it doesn’t help them understand which Meets took place without a teacher or support staff present. It can also be difficult, though not impossible, to identify Meets that were accessed by outside domains and those participants’ information.

monitoring google meet capabilitiesMonitoring Google Meet for Student Safety and Security

Google’s Meet Quality Tool is great for troubleshooting, but it doesn’t sufficiently address safety and security concerns.

Google did address some problems with some product updates and configuration suggestions. They suggested that when you activate Google Meet, you should grant meeting creation privileges only to faculty and staff to avoid students meeting without proper supervision. Google also added features to give teachers more control over meetings to improve security. These include:

  • Meeting creators and calendar owners are the only ones who can mute or remove other attendees, ensuring that students can’t mute or remove teachers or other meeting creators.
  • Meeting creators and calendar owners are the only ones who can approve requests to join made by anyone outside of the school’s domain. This prevents students from allowing access to outsiders and outsiders can’t join before the teacher.
  • Meeting participants can’t rejoin a meeting after the last participant has left. When the teacher is the last to leave a meeting, no one else can reactivate it.

While these suggestions and improvements have helped to make Google Meet more secure for the education industry, there are still things missing. To address these security gaps, ManagedMethods is introducing a new Google Meet monitoring and risk investigation feature. It will increase your peace of mind, while your students and teachers can enjoy the collaborative and social learning benefits of using Google Meet in remote learning.

[WEBINAR ON-DEMAND] CYBER SAFETY & SECURITY IN GOOGLE MEET & CHAT. LEARN & SECURE >>

ManagedMethod’s new feature will provide the same information that Google offers in the Meet Quality Tool, and it adds capabilities that will help you monitor Google Meet to safeguard your district’s community. These capabilities include:

  • Identify meeting participants by Organization Unit to help you spot meetings that didn’t include a teacher or staff, indicating that meeting creation privileges aren’t set up properly.
  • Export data into Google Sheet and use easy pivot table templates for deeper and easier data analysis. In addition, ManagedMethods provides support and solutions consulting to help you build customized data analysis Sheets (at no additional cost).
  • Consolidate all G Suite for Education security and student safety data into one dashboard, including Gmail, Drive, Shared Drives, Meet, and Chat. Easily identify data security risks related to things such as personally identifiable information (PII) and payment card industry (PCI) data. You can also monitor student safety risks that include cyberbullying and self-harm detection.

Google Meet is a key component required to enable remote learning during this time of crisis. Teachers, students, and parents need to feel comfortable using it. This means that monitoring Google Meet is critical for security, safety, and compliance reasons.

Stay tuned, because monitoring Google Classroom for safety and security in ManagedMethods is coming very soon! Register for our upcoming webinar today to see how easy monitoring Google Meet and Chat can be.

Google Meet & Chat Cyber Safety & Security Webinar Recording