E-learning is essentially a learning system or network of knowledge and skills that we can access via the internet, with the use of an electronic device. It is also known as online education or online learning. In e-learning, ‘the ‘E’ stands for electronic, hence the term.
During the pandemic, the reliance on e-learning has increased significantly. Educational institutions have had to explore methods for effective teaching and collaborative activities. This is not to say that the use of online learning platforms is limited to school or college-going students and teachers. Anyone can use e-learning platforms to impart or receive useful knowledge. It could be a home-maker wishing to learn a new skill or someone working in a company like Cox cable.
Given its increasing popularity and use, a lot of innovations have been made to make e-learning more effective. These include virtual tutoring, online learning software, language apps, video conferencing tools, and much more. But as online education is becoming a norm, cybercriminals are looking for opportunities to take advantage of it. Hence there is a strong need to protect e-learning platforms through well-devised strategies and tools. Here are some tips to protect your data security in e-learning.
#1. Take Passwords Seriously
The first and foremost step is to create strong passwords. Never use the same passwords for different accounts/platforms. If you do, hackers can easily access multiple data points and therefore cause more damage than you would expect. Be creative when creating passwords. A trick is to think of a certain phrase and then use the first alphabets of each word as your password. Also, make sure it has a unique combination of symbols, letters as well as lower and upper case. If you are struggling to make a good password, you can make use of Microsoft tools for this purpose. They can generate codes that are difficult to crack but easy to memorize.
#2. Do Not Link Your School E-mail Account
It seems rather convenient to link all your accounts to one email address. But the truth is if you link your Twitter, Facebook, and business accounts to your school e-mail account, you’re making the hackers’ job easy. Cybercriminals typically target social accounts. So suppose they are able to crack your social account; if you have linked it to your school email address, the hacker can easily follow you into it. It would be an ideal opportunity for them to gain access to your transcripts, financial aid, schedules, and other personal information. Therefore, always keep a separate email account for e-learning.
#3. Use Secure Networks
Do not make financial transactions through public networks such as free Wi-Fi offered by a business (cafe, airport, etc) or one that is labeled as ‘guest.’ Hackers use such networks to set up spyware and steal financial information. Also, do not use public computers to sign in to secure accounts. At times cybercriminals set up free Wi-Fi stations and use phishing scams to collect your sign-in information. So always use secure Wi-Fi networks and avoid signing in unfamiliar screens.
#4. Update Your Learning Management System
Most LMS have built-in security features. But you need to be vigilant about updating them regularly to ensure you have the latest software version and/or add-ons. If you suspect a security threat or are concerned about the e-learning environment you’re functioning in, ask your LMS provider to check if all security features are working properly. In case you have not purchased an LMS yet, do your research thoroughly before selecting one. Remember to ask your e-learning vendor about the preventive securities measures as well as how they handle possible security attacks.
#5. Data Encryption
When sharing important data, always use encryption software. This is particularly important if you’re sending or accessing data through devices that can be physically lost or stolen. Encryption ensures that even if you lose your device, the data in it cannot be manipulated. You can also limit cache and set an expiry date on the data you choose to share.