April 21, 2021

Password protection made easy

Mike Wallace

Kincaid IT’s Cloud Lead

Cody Rozell

Kincaid IT’s Cloud Deployment Specialist

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All passwords need to be protected from our youngest students through high school as well as among our staff. What are the safest methods of protecting information?

Teacher:
Let’s talk about an important aspect of our everyday lives — passwords. All passwords need to be protected from our youngest students through high school as well as among our staff. What are the safest methods of protecting information? Is it the same for teachers and students?

white ipad on white table

Tech Admin:

Teachers have data stored on their devices and district cloud accounts that are crucial to protect. If you use a standard password for almost everything, consider setting up two-factor authentication. In most districts, teachers can manually change their password from time to time. If the district does not allow teachers to change their password, request it. 

The best passwords for students are those generated in the admin console. Typically they include the students’ ID, making it easy for them to remember but too long for others to figure out. Starting in about 5th grade, students can be given the ability to change their passwords. This makes for a quick fix if a student thinks a password has been compromised. For young students, using a third-party application such as Clever or Classlink can provide students with the ability to scan a QR code to access single sign in.  

Teacher:

This conversation makes me think about the entry level of protection for information. If someone can access our information with our login credentials, they are in. What do you recommend to help prevent this?

Tech Admin:

Fortunately, there are a number of actions teachers and students can take to keep their devices away from individuals lacking permission to access the device and its stored information. 

The following are some ideas to enhance password protection. Using only one isn’t as secure as using several.

Do not:

  • Do not print a classlist of passwords. The printed copy could unintentionally end up in the wrong hands or be misplaced. This type of list includes a lot of compromised login information.
  • Do not display a collection of passwords for any student to access as a reminder. Example: Using a closed folder with a list, index cards on a ring, etc. 
  • Do not keep passwords on a post-it note on the device as a reminder.
  • Do not ignore teaching the importance of keeping passwords private and also sharing how that looks.

Recommended:

  • Model the importance of password security in how you manage your own passwords.
  • Start the year with opportunities for students to practice logging in with passwords. When school starts, students are excited to receive their devices. Use this exciting time for students to practice typing their username and password with parents/guardians at home.
  • For students who will have difficulty with the login, create individual strategies that do not display the information of the students needing reminders. This short list will make it easier for the teacher to keep track of passwords and keep them private.
  • Talk to your administrators about options for third-party applications that allow students to use single sign on and/or QR codes to sign in. 
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