The Data Security Starting Five The Data Security Starting Five

The Data Security Starting Five

Lauren Gilchrist Lauren Gilchrist Edtech Thought Leader
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Data security is more than just a stronger password or a newer firewall. It takes a wide range of skills all working together to keep schools safe from missteps and foul play.
With that in mind, we at Advancing K12 held a fantasy draft to assemble the strongest starting lineup in data security history. Let’s meet the starters for the Data Defenders dream team. 

Point Guard — Pierre Preux

Belle Nom School District, Michigan 

There’s no player we’d rather have running the point than Pierre, our public relations pro. A 12-time league leader in communication assists, Pierre takes it upon himself to make the people around him better. His vision and keen awareness of both the present setup and what’s developing help him identify potential threats earlier. When the going gets tough, we can count on Pierre to keep his cool and make sound decisions. 

Team Role

  • Floor general: Communicates threats, breaches, and prevention techniques.
  • Playmaker: Develops and delivers content to raise awareness of issues and support paths.
  • Face of the franchise: Acts as liaison between teammates and the general public for formal communications.

All-Star Traits

  • Uses video, blog, and social media channels in addition to traditional email and newsletter channels to reach the largest possible audience.
  • Stays aware of the security landscape, including up-to-the-minute knowledge of emerging threats.
  • Has a clearly documented plan in place to address a variety of crises and empowers teammates with the knowledge and tools they need to take action in his absence.  



Shooting Guard — Emma Ware

Mathematics and Science Preparatory School, Texas

Network administrator Emma Ware’s smothering defense and clutch play can frustrate even the most malevolent hacker. She’s quick, she’s decisive, and her network awareness is unparalleled. Emma’s strongest trait is her work ethic; no matter how many edtech initiatives are going on, she always keeps an eye out for potential threats.

Team Role

  • Lockdown defender: Prevents ill-intentioned bugs, worms, malware, and horses from achieving their goals.
  • Opportunist: Proactively identifies malicious tendencies and blocks access with up-to-date knowledge and threat detection.
  • Sharpshooter: Quick to recognize opportunities; demonstrates top-notch accuracy. 

All-Star Traits

  • Keeps all protective measures up to date, including firewalls, antivirus software, threat detection and monitoring tools.
  • Drills teammates on ability to recognize phishing activity, including the measurement of open and click rates over time.
  • Responds quickly to quarantine and mitigates the effects of any threats that do make it through.



Small Forward — Justin Quire 

Elk Ridge Middle School, Illinois

Justin is an instinctive instructional technology director whose quick thinking has successfully thwarted numerous threats to his district's data. He is an aggressive defender with no qualms about taking the ball away when an opponent loses focus. His rapport with officials and cover-to-cover knowledge of the rulebook make him a thorn in the side for any opponents who attempt to cut corners.

Team Role

  • Slasher: Identifies and cuts access to careless or malicious apps, software vendors, and online services.
  • On-ball pest: Relentlessly pursues across-the-board compliance, forcing providers to be always vigilant.
  • Savvy vet: Willing to stand up to teammates who push the envelope too far. Maintains firm and consistent expectations.

All-Star Traits

  • Maintains a living library of every app, program, and web service being used.
  • Conducts ongoing review of platform security, terms of service, and data sharing policies to ensure compliance with FERPA, COPPA, and other privacy regulations.
  • Empowers teachers and office staff with privacy training, including social media best practices. 



Power Forward — Makenna Fortress

Prudence STEM Academy, Pennsylvania

Makenna is our chief technology officer of choice, thanks to her highly polished fundamentals and tremendous vision. A cerebral player, Makenna makes a living by staying one step ahead of the opposing team on both sides of the court. Though she lacks the traditional height associated with this position, she makes up for it with agility, positioning, and consistency. 

Team Role

  • Point forward: Monitors network traffic to identify anomalies and resource allocation.
  • Pace setter: Implements redundant infrastructure and multiple ISPs to keep access available and data current in the event of a DDoS attack or connection failure.
  • Captain comeback: Implements and maintains an aggressive backup and recovery plan.

All-Star Traits

  • Partners with community, businesses, and other education institutions to negotiate best deal for strong broadband infrastructure. Maximizes E-rate funding.
  • Remains vigilant about backups, including recurring testing and auditing to ensure processes are running as expected. 
  • Always on the same page as the PR pro. Performs analysis of disaster recovery procedures for both on-premise and cloud-hosted platforms; ensures data is stored in multiple secure physical locations.  


Center — Scottie Loggins

Nova Valley Senior High School, Minnesota

Our big man down low is a skilled defender with years of acquired knowledge and experience. As far as data analysts go, Scottie’s rebounding and rim protecting prowess make for an intimidating presence; he is quick to swat away all but the most creative security threats. 

Team Role

  • Rim protector: Develops and implements a strong password policy across the district. 
  • Board collector: Manages user accounts for the entire team, including single sign-on and security provisioning. 
  • Break starter: Continuously reviews application security, configuration settings, and security groups to ensure compliance with privacy regulations.

All-Star Traits

  • Integrates a centralized, automated authentication platform with all supporting systems. 
  • Conducts security audits of foundational platforms, including student information, learning management, financial management, and human resources systems to ensure sensitive data is only accessible to those who need it to do their jobs.    
  • Documents best practices for physical security measures, including web sharing, local storage of protected data, and printing.

Whether this team of elite Data Defenders faces off against the storied Monstars or meets elusive malware, we have nothing but confidence in the team we’ve assembled. Now it’s your turn, coach. How deep is your data squad? Do the skills of your district’s lineup match up with this starting five, or do you have some work (or even recruiting) to do this offseason?
Basketball GIF

Follow-Up Resources6 Security Threats

Learn how to stay protected against phishing attacks, share Google documents safely, and reduce the risks of local data storage by password-protecting your folders in this security drill post.  
No turnovers! Learn 3 ways to guard your passwords and deny penetration in this password security post


Lauren Gilchrist Lauren Gilchrist Edtech Thought Leader
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