The world is increasingly relying on technology to enhance teaching and learning experiences. This reliance places a spotlight on the critical importance of data privacy, compliance with regulations, and data security. When institutions select EdTech Software as a Service (SaaS) providers, they must prioritize these factors to safeguard their stakeholders. This blog post discusses how organizations can choose EdTech SaaS providers that adhere to privacy by design principles, ensure compliance with both existing and future regulations, and maintain high standards of data security and privacy.

Privacy by design

Privacy by design is a concept requiring privacy to be a high priority throughout the software engineering and product development process. When evaluating EdTech SaaS providers, organizations should look for providers that have integrated privacy into product development from the ground up. This means the provider employs strategies such as data minimization, where only necessary data is collected, and end-to-end encryption, which protects data in transit and at rest. EdTech buyers should inquire about the provider’s approach to privacy by design during the selection process and favor those who demonstrate a clear commitment to these principles.

Compliance with existing and future regulations

The legal landscape surrounding data privacy and protection in education is complex and continuously evolving. Organizations must therefore choose EdTech SaaS providers that not only comply with current regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and other local laws, but who are also prepared to adapt to future changes in these regulations. Confirm that Data Privacy Impact Assessments (DPIA’s) are conducted by the provider before any product is released. It’s crucial to select providers who are proactive about compliance, remaining informed of regulatory changes and adjusting their practices accordingly. This foresight ensures organizations can confidently use these services without fear of compliance violations.

Data security and privacy

Data security and privacy are paramount in teaching and learning tools due to the sensitivity of the information involved. Organizations should rigorously assess the security measures EdTech SaaS providers have in place. This assessment includes examining their encryption practices, data breach response plans, and user access controls. Additionally, organizations should consider the provider’s track record for data security and their transparency in handling security incidents. Providers that conduct regular security audits and have certifications such as SOC 2 Type II and/or ISO/IEC 27001 offer proven reassurance that they are committed to maintaining high-security standards.  The best providers offer an online Trust Center where interested organizations can access all privacy and security-related compliance documentation in one location.

Continuous evaluation and partnership

Choosing an EdTech SaaS provider is not a one-time decision but an ongoing commitment to partnership and continuous evaluation. Organizations should establish mechanisms for regular review of the provider’s adherence to privacy by design principles, compliance efforts, and security measures. This ongoing evaluation helps identify areas for improvement and ensures that the provider remains aligned with the institution’s needs and values over time.

As the EdTech sector continues to grow, the selection of SaaS providers becomes increasingly significant. Organizations must prioritize privacy by design, regulatory compliance, and data security in their selection process.  Failure to do so may result in costly penalties or fines, reputational damage and legal liability. By prioritizing privacy and security, organizations can forge partnerships with providers that not only enhance the teaching and learning experience through technology but also commit to protecting the privacy and security of instructor and student data. This careful selection process is essential for building trust in educational technology and ensuring that innovations in the sector can be embraced safely and responsibly and ensure a safe and secure teaching and learning environment for all users.

Tess Frazier Class
Tess Frazier

Tess Frazier is the Chief Compliance Officer at Class. She’s built her career in education technology and believes a strong compliance, data privacy, and security program benefits everyone.

Tess Frazier Class
Tess Frazier

Tess Frazier is the Chief Compliance Officer at Class. She’s built her career in education technology and believes a strong compliance, data privacy, and security program benefits everyone.

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