Episode 16: GAMEIS 2021 & Summer Cybersecurity Initiatives
Summer break is well underway. For some districts, the 2021 school year about to commence. IT teams are working—or have worked—through K-12 cybersecurity initiatives to get ready for the upcoming school year. Attending summer EdTech conferences is one way to network, learn, and see how cybersecurity strategies are working in other districts.
ManagedMethods recently attended GAMEIS 2021 in Savannah, Georgia, organized by the Georgia Association of Managers of Educational Information Systems. At the event, cybersecurity was the point of emphasis among the Georgia K-12 IT leaders who were in attendance. This comes as no surprise as organizations and school districts continue to fall victim to ransomware and phishing attacks.
The 2021 school year is expected to return to more in-person learning. But that doesn’t mean schools and classrooms will look the same as they did pre-pandemic. School districts will continue to use cloud applications like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, even if students are in the classroom. As students and staff access school resources from inside and outside of school, cloud security must be top-of-mind for IT teams.
In this episode of The K-12 Tech Experience podcast, we are joined again by Greg Hogan, the Network & Data Security Coordinator at Bibb County School District in Georgia. Greg joined us to talk about this summer’s GAMEIS 2021 conference, share some summer initiatives his team has been working on lately, and what he’ll be focusing on most regarding cybersecurity during the 2021 school year.
Read more of our conversation with Greg below (edited for brevity). Listen to the rest by visiting the podcast player on this page or by subscribing to The K-12 Tech Experience wherever you listen to your podcasts!
JK: When we had you last on, you shared a bit about the initial transition to remote and blended learning at the start of the 2020 school year. How were things for Bibb County at the end of this school year?
GH: Things ended really great. We had a strong year. It started out with a phased-in approach but everyone found their groove. We’re ramping up for a new school year and we’re going to hit the ground running. We’re in a much better place than we were the prior year.
We will be back in-person and students that want to go to their regular school can. What we’ve done in Bibb County is we’ve formed a virtual school. If a student wants to do the virtual school then you enroll in that school instead of the normal school. So, we’re doing things a little bit differently over here.
JK: With that, now that schools are on summer break. We’re students able to keep devices over summer? I know some schools have let students keep devices to get familiar with them and catch up on some learning loss, if there was any.
GH: We asked for all devices to be returned. We wanted all of them returned so we could re-image them, reset them, repair them, and get the latest software and patches on them. Really any device that’s been off network for quite some time, we wanted to bring back in and do a complete reset.
We had to coordinate this with summer school. Some students still needed their devices so we had to work around the summer school schedule. But all devices were returned — students and staff. It’s a monumental task to clean and reset around 30,000 devices. We’re also a Windows shop so we’re not utilizing Chrome resets. It’s a big task for our department.
Listen to the rest of our conversation with Greg below and check out previous episodes on the ManagedMethods podcast page. Make sure to subscribe to The K-12 Tech Experience wherever you listen to your podcasts, so you never miss an episode!