School Business Affairs February 2020

18 FEBRUARY 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS SAFETY AND SECURITY Data Safety and Data Security: The Best and Worst of Times Safe data can be insecure and secure data can lack safety, so good information management is critical. By Terri Carson, CPA, and Leslie Peterson, MBA, SFO “ I t was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”When Charles Dickens penned this open- ing line of his novel A Tale of Two Cities , he was referring to the great dichotomy between the joy and prosperity and despair and decline of two European cities in the 1700s. Dickens could not have foreseen his literary comparison as an analogy for a 21st-century data dilemma. The World Wide Web has converted an expansive world into a small global village. On one hand, we are fortunate to have access to a plethora of data at our fingertips. We live in the informa- tion age, where rapidly evolving information technolo- gies drive our economy. The Internet provides us with new forms of communication, entertainment, and com- merce and gives us access to local, national, and interna- tional networks. Education has been greatly enhanced by the wealth of knowledge available to teachers and students on the information superhighway. On the other hand, with this expanded accessibility to data comes great responsibility to ensure that the data are both safe (unable to be altered, damaged, destroyed, or manipulated accidentally by authorized users) and secure (regulated to prevent access by unauthorized users). The easier data are to access, the greater the potential for loss of integrity and security and the greater the possibility of misuse by unauthorized individuals. EVERYTHINGPOSSIBLE/STOCK.ADOBE.COM