Although criminal activity on school networks is rare, the potential for damage to the people and school involved is extremely high. District and school administrators must be prepared for potential problems and equipped with the tools to deter inappropriate behavior, and report inappropriate online activity.
To help administrators prevent and prepare for possible crises, Lightspeed Systems Inc., provider of network security and management software for schools, has released a new white paper, "Forensics: Identifying, Investigating, and Prosecuting Sexual Misconduct in Your School."
Some of the best practices recommended in the white paper are:
- Update the acceptable use policy annually and keep a signed copy on file for every student, teacher and staff member. The document should provide specific examples of acceptable and unacceptable uses, a listing of all technologies to which the policy applies, usage policies, consequences for infringement, and a disclaimer
- Conduct regular reviews of user activity. Such reviews are critical to maintain the health and appropriate use of the district network, and to enforce acceptable use policies. In less than 15 minutes a week, administrators can generate and review network activity reports..
- When monitoring network activity, review traffic to sites that could be inappropriate, suspicious or blocked searches, users using the network for unnecessarily long periods of time, repeated attempts by a user to access unsuitable content, and high volume communications via e-mail or instant messaging between an educator and a student.
- The white paper also outlines the steps for conducting a forensic investigation to review network history, to examine a user's district-owned computer, and to gather non-computer related information such as school surveillance video.
A free webinar on computer forensic investigation that provides administrators with helpful tips and best practices will be available starting in January 2010.