14th May 2018
How ready is your school's IT department for the GDPR?

Is Your School GDPR Ready?

The Switch2IT team is as passionate about data privacy as it is about supporting young people and the local Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent communities. Last month we contributed £1000 to the Worthing ITU trust fund and £250 to Place2Be, the leading national children's mental health charity which aims to make an impact in schools. We also know the importance of getting school IT suites and departments up to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) level because compliance is not a choice but good ongoing best practice is.

There are several things that schools in Sussex and beyond will have to consider before it is out with the Data Protection Act (DPA) and in with the GDPR on 25 May. While these are only some pointers to get you off the starting line, we are here to breakdown what is what so you can make a good active move towards demonstrating your compliance:

List all personal data that your schools collects

First, personal data is defined as any of the following: name, job title, address, email address, photographs, IP address, location data, online behaviour i.e. cookies, and analytics data. Second, one of the GDPR’s main concerns is with the record keeping of consent with regard to storing and using personal data. If you know how, where, when and why you gathered each piece of data you hold, you will be better equipped when it comes to needing a record of processing when a request, for example, a change or deletion of data occurs. 

Update all data collection forms and data processing agreements to comply

Whenever you collect personal data from individuals – whether it’s from parents, guardians, children or contractors – you will need to provide basic information, as in your record of processing and your data protection statement. Remember the simple, but very important point, of consent now meaning people have to opt-in with an affirmative check box rather than opt-out. You will also need to have any external organisations you deal with, such as the company you outsource your school IT support to, sign a data processing agreement so that you cover all bases.

Make sure your staff members are aware of GDPR

Another key point is that your entire staff – from caretakers and office workers to teachers and teaching assistants – are familiar with the new GDPR and know how their personal data should be dealt with and how they should deal with that of others. In most cases, depending on the size of your school, you will need to appoint a data protection officer or someone who focusses on and “owns” GDPR should anyone exercise their data rights. These new rights include: the right to access; the right to rectification; the right to erasure; the right to restrict processing; the right to object to processing; the right to data portability; the right to complain to a supervisory authority; and the right to withdraw consent. According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), most complaints arise because people do not feel their requests, such as a copy of personal data, are met.

Include a data protection statement in your privacy policy

Introducing a data protection statement to the privacy policy page on your school website – that’s easily accessible to all and clearly identifies the purposes for your data collection – is an excellent preparatory measure. This is also an opportunity for you to let parents and other website users who your school’s data officer is, should they need to make contact. Should you need any help with writing a privacy policy, please call Switch2IT on 0800 083 3416 and we will advise on this.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, this new controversial regulation will bring a number of benefits to SMEs, including independent schools and academies, for example:

  • Build parent trust
  • Improve reputation
  • Improve data protection for all
  • Improve IT security

With all that in mind, are you all set or would you like to call Switch2IT for a helping hand?

Switch2IT Technical Support For Schools

Whether you are an independent school based in Chichester or Dartford or an academy based in Brighton or Guildford, Switch2IT is here to offer technical support for everything from the GDPR change over to an IT networking overhaul and ongoing managed service contracts to one-off IT project management.

To find out more about the IT services for schools we offer, contact us today. For a no-obligation quote, fill out our secure online form and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

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