Securing A Safe Learning Environment in 2023 and Beyond

Why is security important for schools.

In today’s digital age, Educational Institutions are increasingly reliant on technology to support learning and administrative functions. As the education networks continue to expand the risk of security incidents only grows. Unfortunately, the sensitive nature of the data they store also makes schools a prime subject for cybercriminals. We all know that schools and educational institutions are prime subjects for cybercriminals today.  

One of the biggest challenges facing the education sector today is managing multiple user personas and tight budgets. From online learning platforms to student information systems, and alumni emails, Educational Institutions have a vast security landscape that needs to be protected.  

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of security in Education and how to navigate different user personas to protect their sensitive data. 

The Importance of Security in Education

The security of Educational Institutions needs to be a top priority for these organizations because:  

  1. Educational Institutions store a vast amount of sensitive data, including personal information, medical records, and academic records. This data needs to be protected from cyber threats to prevent identity theft and other malicious activities. 
  1. Cyber-attacks can disrupt the operations of Educational Institutions, including online learning platforms, student information systems, and administrative functions. By ensuring the security of these systems, Educational Institutions can prevent costly downtime and ensure the continuity of operations. 
  1. Educational Institutions are held to high standards when it comes to protecting sensitive data. A breach of data can erode public trust, leading to reputational damage and potentially impacting enrollment. 

Navigating Unique User Personas: Faculty, Students and Alumni 

The education sector faces unique challenges when it comes to cybersecurity. Beyond tight budgets and juggling public and private funding, schools have multiple user personas that complicate cybersecurity protection. But the reality is that not protecting these personas is actually creating exploits within your network.  

For example, universities and colleges typically have faculty, students and alumni that access their private networks or business devices. But each of them uses the technology differently.  

Faculty often have university-owned computers and access the internal network for teaching, grading, communication and more. While students and alumni typically have their own devices that they use to connect to the school’s email network. Students, however, also have access to university technology in lessons such as science labs. 

K-12 schools also often manage multiple personas such as corporate employees, teachers, students and parents. It’s just as complicated to know what to protect and when.  

Often businesses are left with more technology tools than they need because they are trying to use them all for every use case. Customized solutions where you protect your internal devices and faculty/staff and extend certain solutions such as Managed Email TDR across students and alumni would be ideal.  

Before now, that wasn’t possible.  

Maximizing Your Security Budget 

When investing in Microsoft Security A5 or E5 licensing schools open the door to the most powerful security tools on the market.  

As a leading Microsoft Security partner Difenda has access to exclusive funding opportunities and incentives. These offers promote the deployment of their security solutions by expert security providers to help customers maximize their investment and improve security ROI.  

Difenda is able to offer these programs on behalf of our customers because of our longstanding partnership, our certifications, and our commitment to training our team in areas customers need support. 

Download the Guide to Microsoft & Difenda Funding and Incentives  

How Difenda Can Help 

Difenda’s Managed Microsoft Security Services provide a comprehensive and tailored solution for Educational Institutions to protect their sensitive data.  

We meet you where you are on your journey without you having to pay for more security tools than you will actually be using. Our modular approach allows you to build a security program that works for your organization and user personas.  

Are you worried about the security of your Educational Institution’s sensitive data? Do you want to ensure that your network and endpoints are protected from cyber threats and breaches? 

Download the Managed Microsoft Security Services in Education White Paper!

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Ken Perkins

Biography coming soon.

Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Jeffry Jacob

Biography Coming Soon