Managing a learning environment is no longer limited to lessons in reading or arithmetic, physical education, or art and music. Today’s education administrators are challenged with security risks, emergency responses, and dealing with incidents. Together with fostering a positive learning environment, they must also ensure the optimization of security protocols and the safety of staff and students.
The primary security functions for most educational institutions are physical access control and video monitoring of campuses and facilities. Most schools will use on premises hardware and software installations. However, advances in technology have created new tools to address security challenges that can prove to be especially beneficial for schools without onsite security teams.
The arrival of the cloud has revolutionized not only data storage, but numerous computing functions. Now schools can manage school camera systems and access control from a single muti-functional platform and integrate video analytics to assess potential threats in real time. Existing video monitoring equipment can be integrated and managed by a single, central, remote management platform. This allows administrators to reduce investments that weigh on school budgets. But remote management and savings are not the only security tools available. The cloud offers much, much more.
One of the greatest advantages to cloud-based security platforms is the accessibility they offer. Information can be accessed remotely from anywhere, and all collected data from multiple devices will be channeled into a single platform that is intuitive and easy-to-use.
School administrators, staff and eventually law enforcement and emergency services can receive information within minutes of an incident or an emergency and respond accordingly 24/7. Security alerts can be sent to mobile devices like smartphones in real time regardless of their location. Smoke, fires, natural disasters, and medical emergencies will benefit from the time saved with a system of automatic alerts and increased collaboration with local authorities.
Cloud-based platforms allow for the integration of access control systems on school properties with video monitoring for immediate verification of student, staff, and visitor identities. This can also increase the school’s protection against theft of equipment and personal belongings as well as on-premises acts of vandalism.
By integrating security systems and tools, school administrators can create a “smart school building” that joins physical access control, visitor management, and building management so that procedures are automated and triggered with physical access by students and staff to properties.
Rather than risk data storage on school premises, the Cloud offers schools the possibility to increase data protection. Both public and private cloud providers have stringent security measures in place to protect both stored data and data that needs to be transmitted. Cloud providers integrate encryption, security protocols, vulnerability testing, and secure passwords to guarantee data is protected. Students’ personal data will be much less at risk when stored on the Cloud than when stored in on-campus filing cabinets or on school office computers.
Updates Are Automatic
Nowadays it is common for schools to employ IT teams to manage network issues and to manage updates to on-premises systems. But this method can be slow, causing technological downtime and costly. With a Cloud-based platform, updates, patches, and maintenance is directly managed by the Cloud service provider selected. This leaves IT and security teams free to manage other issues of equal importance.
System Flexibility and Scalability
Schools need systems that are highly flexible to manage calendar changes, student and staff activities that change from day to day, and visitors to campuses. The Cloud offers a centralized management platform meaning that modifications to access permissions or to IoT devices will be quicker and can be automated. Security for buildings on campus can be activated or shut down depending on school needs in a matter of minutes. In the event of a need for a school lockdown procedure, there’s nothing faster.
Cloud-based systems also allow for scalability. Systems can be scaled down during summer vacations and increased with the beginning of the school year. Scalability means devices, access points, and video monitoring systems can be added or removed as needed. Scalability will also bring better use of economic resources. A school will not be paying for service that it does not require.
Economic Advantages of Cloud-based Security Systems
Apart from the immediate advantages of better physical access control to properties and increased security for data storage, there are monetary advantages including the reduction of liabilities that the school management is responsible for.
Security is synonymous with safety, the safety of staff, students, and visitors to campuses. Cloud-based physical access systems not only permit traffic flow control but can restrict access to high-risk areas on school properties thus reducing liabilities for school administrators.
Economic savings are decidedly among the benefits of Cloud-based security systems. With a cloud-based system, it is no longer necessary to dedicate a space for storage of hardware on the premises or to invest in the hardware, meaning less reliance on physical hardware. Apart from the convenience of operation, costs will be more affordable. Automated access controls and video analytics can also free up staff members for other tasks.
Security, Safety, and Trust
Parents entrust their children to school systems. They expect schools to be safe for everyone present. Increases in school shooting episodes, gun violence, bullying and external threats have created a need for high performing security technology. School safety can only be guaranteed through investment in new technologies and timely emergency response to any security challenge.