Cyber Hygiene Policy & Cyber Smart Schools
Right from a very tender age, today’s learners are prolific users of the internet. A vast majority of the users including parents, teachers and others are not aware of Cyber Laws and their implications. Hence, the onus of building a cyber-safe environment is on the educational institutions. Schools should formulate a comprehensive Cyber Hygiene Policy. Netiquettes, Cyber Ethics and Digital Literacy should form an integral part of Life Skills Programme and ICT Curriculum.
A strong and effective system should be in place to identify, access and mitigate any breach of cyber safety and security. The first step in this direction would be to curate a holistic Cyber Hygiene Policy.
10 Ps of Cyber Hygiene Policy
The School Leadership Team should have a clear vision to build a Digitally Smart and Cyber Safe campus to augment learning and to foster the spirit of inquiry and research.
School should have a Digital Guardians Action Committee comprising SLT and IT department for the effective planning, framing and implementation of ‘Cyber Hygiene Policy’.
There should be an elaborate and non-ambiguous Cyber Hygiene Policy defining clear roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders. A Cyber Safety Contract to be signed by each and every netizen would be a significant component of the policy.
The policy must be shared with all the stakeholders. They must be oriented to use technology with a sense of pride, fulfillment and precaution.
While there is much ado about the misuse of internet, there is little focus on how to curate positive digital footprints. If managed well, digital footprints can showcase one’s interests, skills and achievements. This is very important as the recruiters are checking online the identity and suitability of the applicants. Positive hacking is another bright side of the cyber world.
The IT department should provide preventive security solutions such as Wi-Fi network secured with WEP password, firewall protections, cloud based storage, MDM device, safety app, etc.
As a precautionary measure, the policy should elaborate on the DOs & DON’Ts, Roles & Responsibilities and User Compliance with IT safety and security.
To protect the sanctity of the cyber space, the policy should clearly define the protective measures to safeguard the rights of a victim against the offender. There should be adequate provisions for the rehabilitation of the victim.
The cyber world is changing at an incredible rate. Cyber security needs a regular review and update for timely adaptation. Schools should co-opt a security specialist on their board so as to be aware of the latest cyber-threats. A designated senior member of the team should be made responsible for the implementation of the right measures.
Schools should have an omniscient view of their cyber hygiene strategies. The guardians of Cyber Hygiene should be constantly vigilant. The Cyber Safety and Security Systems must perpetually keep evolving through continuous R & D.
A well planned and successful execution of Cyber Hygiene Policy will build Cyber Smart Schools and allow meaningful, motivational and responsible use of technology.
Harish Luharuka has been the Director Academics –Universal Education since 2014 and has been mentoring twenty plus institutions and impacting 25,000+ learners in India and overseas. He has been managing diverse curricula at the state, national and international level.
He has a master’s degree in Banking and Finance from the Mumbai University and has won several awards and accolades. He has been in education for the last thirty-eight and was the Founder Chairman & Managing Director of Oxford Coaching Institute from 1988 to 2015. He has served the cause of education through various initiatives – he was the Education Committee Chairman of two Lions Clubs in Mumbai. He is a passionate life-long learner.