How to Test Your K-12 School Security System
by Doreen Fiola
Cybersecurity threats are becoming more rampant every day. As more students move to hybrid and remote learning, schools are exposed to cybercrime in ways they have never been before. If you’re still using the same cybersecurity systems you had in place pre-pandemic, it may be time to take an assessment to learn where your vulnerabilities lie.
Access control prevents unauthorized people from getting into your school. Modern access control systems will also allow you to track who has accessed which areas, revoke access and change access protocols in the event of an emergency.
Does your access control plan:
- Receive an audit at least once a year?
- Monitor who is going in and out of your school?
- Allow temporary access for visitors and temporary staff?
- Secure gyms, maintenance areas and delivery areas when not in use?
- Limit building access?
- Clearly define building perimeters?
Building and Perimeter Security
Keeping your school safe often means keeping outside threats on the outside. Without being able to monitor the environment outside of your school, you won’t be able to anticipate threats nearby. Your perimeter security should include:
- Bus-loading policies that restrict access.
- Appropriate barriers and gates.
- Security cameras that can be monitored from a central location and are not obstructed.
- Adequately lit school grounds.
If your school experiences an incident, you must communicate both within your school and to local law enforcement. Communication systems should:
- Provide two-way communication between faculty, staff, administrators and security personnel.
- Link to local law enforcement and emergency responders.
- Include procedures for communicating with the public and media regarding potential threats or issues.
- Include an outline of who should be contacted in the event of an emergency and how.
Schools must have updated security equipment to ensure their campuses remain secure. Grants and other funding exist to help schools get the tools they need to keep students safe. Your equipment should include:
- Video surveillance.
- Intrusion and detection alarm system.
- Video systems that are connected to emergency power and have a backup recording available.
- A regular audit of all security tools and systems.
Threat Assessment Team
A threat assessment team can help audit your systems, prepare for attacks and report during or after an incident. If you already have a threat assessment team, they should be a clearly defined group of people with assigned roles and procedures to follow in the event of an incident.
NIC Partners Can Help You Assess
If you need help monitoring, testing or assessing your security, NIC Partners can help. We specialize in IT for K-12 organizations, so we understand how to create security plans that work. We can help you conduct a full assessment of your current systems and make recommendations to keep you protected.