With the widespread adoption of technology in the classroom, many concerns are being raised in the education sector regarding data privacy for students, parents, and teachers. Although technology has made things easier for education, such as:
- Distant learning: Students and teachers can connect and learn from anywhere.
- Instant access to information: tools like cloud storage give instant access to resources.
- Enhanced collaboration: students can work, edit, and make changes to a project in real time.
- Improved communication: mail, messaging, and in-house systems allow instant feedback with fewer delays.
- Data analysis and assessment: Online assessments and student progress can be monitored, stored securely, and shared with the necessary staff, parents, or guardians.
However, with the sheer amount of data online, it can be easy for the education sector to become a victim of data breaches, leaks, or hacks due to the sensitivity of the data it stores. As a result, it is essential for those working in education to implement a strategy to safeguard sensitive data.
How can the education sector store data securely and safely?
Cloud storage is one of the most secure, affordable, and efficient ways for educators and institutions to store sensitive data. Some cloud storage providers often have other benefits in their service that can benefit within a classroom or education setting.
If you want to find the best way to safeguard data as an educator or student, we have compiled 7 of the best cloud storage for education providers. Each offers many benefits that will help safeguard data, maximize collaboration and efficiency within the classroom, and aid in lesson planning, communication, and more.
Let’s look at the best cloud storage for education services available.
Internxt is the perfect option for cloud storage in education due to its emphasis on protecting the data of its users. Internxt Drive is a cloud storage platform for students, teachers, or parents to store and share important files or documents.
Internxt safeguards data with end-to-end encryption, meaning a document is transformed into an unreadable, scrambled on the sender’s device. The encrypted data is sent securely to the recipient, who owns the key to decrypt the data and read it in its original form.
Data encryption is the most powerful method to safeguard data in an educational setting, as it ensures that private student information is stored safely and remains confidential from unauthorized access. In addition, Internxt is a zero-knowledge company, meaning that any sensitive data you store with Internxt is only accessed by people who have been given permission. Internxt can never view, store, or share any data you store with its services.
Internxt also has a free service, Internxt Send, where students, teachers, or other staff can encrypt and send up to 5GB of data via a secure link. Finally, Internxt offers secure collaboration with its file and folder-sharing features, meaning data is safeguarded via a secure link and settings that can give or stop access to a file at any time.
Internxt offers up to 10GB of cloud storage for free or 200GB, 2TB, 5TB, and 10TB of monthly or annual plans. If you work in education, Internxt offers a 50% educational discount on monthly and annual subscriptions, which you can claim if you have a valid education email address.
Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage providers out there, and its vast product suite, including video calls, email, and workspace, makes it a popular method for the education sector to safeguard its data.
Google Drive offers a generous 15GB of free storage; with that, you will have access to its suite of products such as Docs, Meet, Sheets, Calendar, etc. Therefore, Google Drive is a fantastic option for collaboration in an education setting and for teachers or staff to organize and communicate between departments.
However, a few important things to consider with Google Drive when considering it to safeguard any data is how Google manages and shares its data. Google states that it will often share data with third parties in return for personalized advertisements. In doing so, this exposes data to data breaches or exposure to threat actors.
Furthermore, Google hosts its servers, meaning it holds the key to decrypt data and could theoretically decrypt and view data you want to keep confidential. Google data laws are also in the US, meaning, if requested, they must allow government or law agencies access to view potentially confidential data.
Because the data in education is extremely sensitive and confidential, Google Drive may not be the most private solution to safeguard data. However, as a means to store or collaborate on documents with zero confidentiality or safeguard measures, Google may be a viable option.
Sync is another file storage solution for educators to safeguard data, as its platform allows for a secure method to store, sync, and share sensitive data safely in the cloud. Sync gives teams who work in education various tools and features to access and manage how data is stored and shared.
With numerous access management tools available, Sync provides many security features to safeguard data to protect students and teachers. Sync has many beneficial security features to help safeguard data, including:
Administrator accounts: allows for complete control of file privacy.
Management tools: set up two-factor authentication, password protection, etc.
Control access: set expiration dates on files, files to read-only, and view activity logs.
Sync’s encryption methods and the fact they do not store, sell, or share personal data make Sync a secure way to safeguard data in education. However, Sync is not open source, so if that is an important quality, you may wish to consider an alternative. You can try Sync for free and get 5GB of free storage.
iCloud is another cloud storage provider popular primarily for Apple users. Although using iCloud with Windows devices is possible, iCloud is built with Apple products in mind. As with Google, an iCloud account also includes access to its product suite of email, photos, pages, and keynote apps.
iCloud allows educators to access their files anywhere from any device, so you can still access data, projects, or any other files regardless of whether you are in the institution or if the worst happens and your device is lost, broken, or stolen.
On top of that, iCloud also allows the restoration of files for up to 30 days, allowing users to regain access to sensitive data in the case of accidental deletion. You can also set permissions on files you share and control who can edit the files.
Apple also has other security features, such as a keychain to protect passwords and hide my email, which generates a unique email that safeguards your identity and reduces the risk of data leaks. As a cloud storage provider, Apple encrypt all your files and data to safeguard and protect confidential information.
iCloud may be a beneficial storage solution to safeguard data in an educational setting if everybody can access an Apple device. As iCloud is primarily designed for the Apple product suite, it may be more complex for Windows users to access all features, and more than 5GB of free storage may be needed for larger teams.
For Windows users, the go-to method to safeguard data and store and share files is Microsoft OneDrive. OneDrive offers 5GB of free storage for one person, which includes photo and file backup, 15GB of email space, and the web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Excel.
For advanced features and more storage space, you must upgrade your OneDrive subscription to access premium features such as advanced file and folder protection. OneDrive also offers business plans for larger organizations per-user/ month basis, which may be suitable to safeguard the data for larger institutions.
Security measures to safeguard data with OneDrive include industry-standard encryption technology and file management controls to apply sensitive labels to private documents.
OneDrive has also introduced Microsoft Defender for personal and family accounts, which offers additional security measures to protect accounts from scammers, network attacks, and multi-device protection. However, currently, this feature is only available in the US.
The final option for safeguarding data in the education sector is pCloud. Like Internxt, pCloud adheres to European privacy laws that are much stricter and ensure data is kept private.
Although pCloud follows stricter privacy laws and advertises as a zero-knowledge service, you must pay an additional fee on top of a pCloud subscription to access this feature. pCloud subscriptions offer 500GB or 2TB of storage or 10GB for free. It also allows you to sync backups from cloud storage providers like OneDrive.
Suppose your team is willing to spend money on additional encryption. In that case, pCloud is a secure and private method to safeguard education data and enjoy other features such as media streaming and file versioning.
Safeguarding education is of vital importance for those who are part of the education sector. Choosing how to safeguard this data will depend on the different needs of each institution. With these cloud storage providers, you can help protect confidential data, enjoy secure collaboration, and manage the privacy of essential documents effectively to meet your safeguarding requirements.