"Free" Applications Are Not Necessarily Free

  • Many education technology start-ups market free online applications directly to teachers. These free applications can be helpful in the classroom, allowing teachers to personalize learning and deliver instruction they would not be able to otherwise.


    That said, these free online applications also pose challenges to a school system focused on data security. It takes just one person to download one bad application to wreak havoc on our network. Guarding against the potential pitfalls— data breaches, identity theft, unauthorized student profiling— is a huge endeavor.


    Rarely is a “free” application truly free. For-profit companies find some way to monetize your patronage. So-called free applications are almost always paid for through advertising or information gathering. If you are using an application that does not charge an upfront fee or show any advertising, that application is getting something from you another way. You’re paying for it with data.


    To ensure the security of our data and the safety of our network from malicious activity, all applications should be vetted and approved by the Data Governance division prior to downloading and using any application. Just remember, when the product is free, you and your data are the product. Don’t put our information and systems at risk.