blog / 23 March 2020

Security in an uncertain world

How the world has changed in just 30 days. Who would have thought that a virus could unite the globe?

More crucially, how far technology has carried the human race and how we are embracing technology more than ever to get us through these uncertain times: to communicate, to work, to diagnose, to deliver.

No doubt every business and company is quickly re-thinking how they can do business in these times and how long the impact of government and health organisation’s decisions will need to be in place.

Parashift, as the creators of SchoolBench, security is and will continue to be the driving focus for solution development.

The case for SchoolBench

If you have experienced SchoolBench up close and personal, then you know the very nature and purpose houses sensitive information: photos of children.

You don’t need to be reminded that Australia’s laws, scrutiny and social expectations around protecting everything relating to children is strict and thorough. As the parent company behind SchoolBench, Parashift was certain to cautiously and seriously consider how to minimise the risks to customers: schools and students. At the end of the day, students are children and our most precious generational asset.

SchoolBench does not attest to the veracity, or lack thereof, as to how other providers secure their solution. The approach and rationale behind why the architecture of SchoolBench was and remains like it is, speaks to a number of factors and open concerns customers have when we initially engage with them.

Continuity of Service

Schools and software companies work in different time horizons. This means that even though Parashift, the creators of SchoolBench, was established in 2013, many schools have existed for much longer periods, for over 20, 50 or over 100 years or more. Schools will continue to exist even longer.

This time horizon means decisions made by schools must factor in a continuity of service for years and decades to come. Typically, this means for far longer periods of existence than software companies.

Should a cloud provider cease trading or not pay their cloud provider’s invoice, this could easily mean their platform ceases to exist for you. This equates to a significant risk for your digital media library. Your library could simply no longer be available because your cloud provider is no longer available.

By the school having SchoolBench reside on site or in your private cloud, the school is in full control. No third-party provider can remove the history your photo management solution houses. Your legacy is safe.

Answering the tough question

In the unlikely event SchoolBench is no longer supported by Parashift, the system and your photos will live on. They do not disappear into thin air. The only change would be SchoolBench is read-only. This means you can still search and download your media and migrate it to a new provider.

Security through Decentralisation

Commonly we read about a company having their online security breached or more commonly hacked. Client information is often published on the web, deleted, corrupted or held for ransom. This recently happened to Google Photos and security systems like Clearview, which is used by law enforcement departments around the world.

SchoolBench’s approach was to decentralised the data, meaning that if Parashift were to be hacked, there is no risk to student data nor images. In short, we don’t keep any information, you do. Clear and simple.

Additionally, should one of our many schools be hacked, your school data is secure. There is no physical or virtual connection to other schools through SchoolBench. The two schools in this example are not storing their information in the same place or system.

This decentralised approach is a principle of insurance by not having all your eggs in the one basket.

Access to your information

Parashift does not capture nor does it store biometric, student or other sensitive information that your school produces in SchoolBench. Even if we received an offer for a large sum of money to sell your data, we couldn’t. We don’t have any of your personal data to sell. Can other providers say this?
In the event Parashift were to be hacked, there is minimal risk to a school, if any.

The reason is simple. We do not have access to your system and we don’t hold any of your sensitive information. Access is controlled by the school and the only information we keep is either for billing purposes or the diagnositics to SchoolBench’s performance, that way we can make it even better for the future.