As we come to almost a year and a half of experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic in the United States, we can clearly see how everyone was impacted by the virus. However, there were many industries and businesses the average person may not have considered who were dramatically impacted as well.
After the stay-at-home orders were put into effect, schools around the country were relying on security companies to adapt. They begged for more support and for these companies to become more innovative with their technologies to keep schools, educators, and students safe.
But because of such high demand, their IT departments and support were hard to get in touch with because their list of responsibilities increased tenfold.
Many school’s IT departments are now being asked to manage much more on their already filled plates. This includes the proper training of the teachers and staff on how to effectively use their new cybersecurity software and systems. And with so many schools still only allowing for virtual classrooms, the IT departments are also asked to be the main means of technical support for families as well.
This is primarily because schools are continuously in need of resources. They need to find more ways to provide laptops and tablets to students who don’t have the means to access equipment or have proper access to the internet. The domino effect continues. If students do not have access to equipment or have no internet access, this means they don’t have a way to continue their education from home.
Once schools are able to provide them with their proper tools, it now includes an added stress for the IT department by providing support for the families. What schools may not have considered is that puts the school at greater risk for potential cybersecurity issues. Now the IT departments are in charge of communication not just within the confines of the school, but within the homes of each student as well.
There is also the impact COVID has had on the physical security of schools. Kenton Brothers is a security company in the Midwest that uses both visible and invisible systems and technologies to keep schools, businesses, and properties safe and secure. During the pandemic, they had to adapt to an entirely new way of handling their physical properties, including schools.
In their blog, they stated that during the pandemic, their team was out on the field “servicing and installing commercial video systems and commercial access control systems that allow displaced owners to monitor their buildings remotely.” This was essential because schools were not only relying on cybersecurity through their digital assets, but for their physical assets as well.
In March of 2020, at the start of the pandemic, almost 6.9 million people in the United States filed for unemployment. The rise of unemployment in the country due to the pandemic coincided with the rise in evictions. This left more individuals and families homeless, sending people to seek out homeless shelters. However, because homeless shelters had to social distance as well, many were having to turn people away. This caused more people to live out of tents and start camps throughout major cities.
But people found alternatives, such as squatting. Because of the number of buildings left vacant from everyone working remotely, more people became squatters. Kenton Brothers provided the ability for their clients to be able to remotely monitor their schools’ security. This allowed schools to continue doing their jobs safely from home and gave them the ability to focus on prioritizing student education.
Prior to the pandemic, schools weren’t considering what to do in case their entire school needed to continue their education from home. They were unprepared, as we all were.
Now many schools are including cybersecurity as part of their strategy moving forward to ensure the safety of their students, staff, and property. It’s uncertain how this pandemic will play out in the long run. For the education system to continue, they’ll have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.