HP computers and cybersecurity: What you need to know as a K-12 IT professional

As a K-12 IT professional, you know how critical cybersecurity is for your school. Cybersecurity protects your network, data, and devices from unauthorized access, theft, or damage. It also safeguards the privacy and safety of your students and staff, who rely on technology for learning and communication. 


The importance of cybersecurity has increased in recent years as more schools have adopted digital learning models. Digital learning enables students to access online resources, collaborate with peers and teachers, and engage in personalized and interactive learning experiences. However, it also exposes them to potential cyber threats, such as malware, phishing, ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, and identity theft. These threats can compromise your network performance, disrupt your learning environment, and harm your students and staff. 

Selecting the appropriate computers for your school's IT infrastructure is crucial. Devices must be capable of withstanding, identifying, and rebounding from cyber threats while providing performance, dependability, and a user experience that improves educational activities. 

One of the best hardware choices for your school is HP computers. HP computers are designed with security in mind, offering a range of features and benefits that can help you enhance cybersecurity and performance. In the following sections, we will explain the need for security-first computers, explain HP's built-in security features, and provide practical guidance for deploying and managing HP technology effectively in schools.


Understanding the Security Landscape in K-12 Education 

Cybersecurity is vital for K-12 education, as schools increasingly rely on digital tools and platforms to deliver and enhance learning. However, many schools need more resources and expertise to protect their networks, devices, and data from malicious actors who seek to exploit their vulnerabilities. According to the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, there were 408 publicly disclosed cyber incidents involving U.S. public schools in 2020, an 18% increase from 2019. These incidents included ransomware attacks, data breaches, denial-of-service attacks, phishing scams, and unauthorized access. Some examples of the impacts of these incidents are: 

  • In February 2023, Minneapolis Public Schools faced a devastating cyberattack where hackers gained access to the district's database, encrypted it, and stole sensitive information, including students' Social Security numbers, health records, and details about sexual assaults and psychiatric holds. The attackers demanded a ransom, which, when refused, led to the public release of the data online. This breach, affecting over 105,000 individuals, exposed students and families to significant risks of identity theft and privacy violations. 
  • Scott Elder, superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, faced a significant cybersecurity crisis on January 12, 2022, when his IT department discovered a virus within the student records system. The discovery led to the shutdown of critical systems, affecting access to essential student information for nearly 70,000 students. By noon, a ransom demand exceeding one million dollars was made. Although the district restored functionality to essential services using its backup systems, schools were closed for two academic days. 

These incidents demonstrate the need for schools to invest in robust and reliable IT solutions that can prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats.  

HP's Built-in Security Features: 

HP laptops and desktops equipped with HP Wolf Security have hardware-enforced security protections embedded at every layer of the laptop.  

Features Include: 

  • HP Sure Start is a self-healing BIOS that automatically restores your device to a known-good state in case of a firmware attack. It prevents hackers from corrupting or disabling your device and also enables faster recovery and reduced downtime. 
  • HP Sure Sense is an artificial intelligence-powered malware protection that can identify and block new and unknown threats. It uses deep learning to analyze the behavior and characteristics of files and applications, and it can stop up to 99.9% of zero-day attacks.  
  • HP Sure Click protects your device from malware hidden on websites and in email attachments. This feature creates a virtual container for every browser tab and email attachment, isolating them from the rest of the system. If any malicious code is detected, it is contained and destroyed within the virtual container, preventing it from infecting your device or compromising your data. Sure Click also protects your privacy by blocking web page trackers and ads and deleting cookies and browsing history when you close your browser. With HP Sure Click, students and staff can browse the web and open email attachments without fear of malware or identity theft. 
  • HP BIOSphere is a firmware-level security feature suite that protects your device from unauthorized access and tampering. HP BIOSphere provides automated protection and self-healing capabilities by using: 
    • HP Sure Admin to manage BIOS settings remotely without passwords or physical presence. 
    • HP Sure Run to monitor and protect critical processes and applications from malware or attackers. 
    • HP Sure Recover to recover your device to a factory state or a custom image quickly and securely. 

HP PCs equipped with HP Wolf Security actively prevent disruptions caused by malware and data breaches, enabling students to concentrate on their studies without concerns about compromised personal information. This powerful security suite shields educational content and secures sensitive data, offering IT professionals peace of mind. With these robust defenses, schools can ensure a focused, secure learning environment where educators and students can thrive. 


Where To Start: Choosing the Right HP Computer 

Selecting the right technology for your school involves understanding the unique needs of your educational environment. HP offers a range of devices that cater to various aspects of school life. Here's a starting point to help you navigate the choices: 

For Teachers: HP Elite Series Notebooks 

  • The HP Elite Series is renowned for its robust security features, sleek design, and powerful performance. These notebooks are ideal for teachers who require reliable, secure, and fast computing to manage classroom activities, prepare lesson materials, and handle administrative tasks. 
  • Key Features
  • HP Sure Start and HP Sure Click: Protect against firmware and malware attacks. 
  • Long Battery Life and High Performance: It can keep up with the demands of a full school day without needing to recharge. 
  • Portability and DurabilityDesigned to be light yet durable, these notebooks are easy to carry between classrooms and meetings. 

For Students: HP Fortis Notebooks 

  • The HP Fortis series is built to withstand the rigors of the school environment and is perfect for students. These devices are specially designed for durability and easy maintenance, making them a practical choice for younger users. 
  • Key Features
  • Reinforced Design: Resists accidental drops, spills, and bumps common in busy school settings. 
  • All-Day Battery Life: Supports learning throughout the entire school day on a single charge. 
  • Enhanced Connectivity Options: Ensures students can connect quickly and stay engaged during online learning sessions. 


Managing and Securing HP Devices 

Effective management and security of devices are crucial in maintaining a robust educational IT environment. HP offers specific solutions tailored to meet the needs of IT professionals in schools. Here's how IT staff can leverage HP's capabilities to enhance device management and security: 

HP Management Solutions 

  • HP Manageability Integration Kit: This toolkit simplifies the management of HP devices across your school's network. IT staff can streamline BIOS configuration, hardware updates, security management, and software installation remotely and securely. 
  • Centralized Device Management: Use HP's tools to monitor device health, manage updates, and resolve issues from a central location. This reduces the time spent on routine maintenance and allows IT staff to focus on more critical tasks. 

Security Implementation 

  • Unified Security Protocols: Establish and implement a standard set of protocols using HP's advanced security features. Ensure that all devices, regardless of their use within the school, adhere to these protocols to maintain a consistent and secure computing environment. 
  • Regular Security Audits and Updates: Schedule regular audits of the security setup to identify and rectify any vulnerabilities. Keep all devices updated with HP's latest security patches and firmware updates to protect against emerging threats. 

Training and Support 

  • HP Professional Development: Take advantage of HP's training programs, designed to help IT staff stay updated with the latest technology and security practices. These programs can also provide certifications that recognize your IT team's proficiency in managing and securing HP devices. 
  • Ongoing Support: Utilize HP's customer support services for troubleshooting and technical assistance. This support extends to warranty services, which can be crucial for managing costs and ensuring the longevity of your devices. 

Leveraging HP Security Tools 

  • In-depth Training on Security Features: Arrange in-depth sessions for IT staff using HP security tools like HP Sure Start and HP Sure Click. Understanding these tools enables IT staff to configure them effectively and educate other users about their benefits. 
  • Collaborative Security Planning: Encourage collaboration between IT staff and HP security experts to tailor security settings to the specific needs of the school. This collaborative approach ensures that security measures are robust and optimized for the educational environment. 


Enhancing IT Operations with HP 

By integrating these management and security practices, IT staff can ensure that the school's technology infrastructure is effective, efficient, and secure from potential cyber threats. With HP's cutting-edge tools and support, your school can achieve a higher standard of digital education delivery backed by a safe and well-managed IT ecosystem. 

Take control of your security with VLCM's HP computers featuring HP Wolf Security. Don't wait, request a demo or get a quote now and experience the best-in-class security for your business.