The Electric Educator: Data Security for Teachers: Know Your Data!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Data Security for Teachers: Know Your Data!

The first step in protecting your data and privacy is to know what data has been collected and is know about you. Most **good** data companies will give you full access to the data and information they have collected about you; that you are storing with them.

Google does a nice job of giving you access to the data it has gathered about you and that you have connected to your Gmail or Google Apps account.

To view your Google data, click on your profile picture in the top right corner of a Google service (Gmail works well) and select "account."

There is a wealth of information here, including all of the personal information that is connected to your account. Here you can change your display name, contact information, profile picture and more.

In the "security" tab you can change your password and view account permissions. I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to go through the "secure your account" section which will:

  • Display your account recovery email address and phone number. 
  • Display your login activity by location to ensure that only you are accessing your account. 
  • Display apps and devices that are connected to your account. It is a good idea to remove any devices or services you are no longer using. 
Once you have completed this security audit, I recommend that you click on the "data tools" tab and select "view account data". This page displays all of the data associated with your Google account by product. You can see how many emails you've sent, appointments are on your calendar, etc. Sign up for a monthly summary of this data by clicking the check box at the top of the screen. Each monthly, quickly review the email to ensure that no unauthorized devices or services are accessing your account and that there is no suspicious activity going on. 

The final step is to periodically (monthly) create a backup of your Google account data. Just find the "download your data" box and create a new archive (note: this is the Google Takeout service). You can leave it on the web, or download a copy to your computer (it may be large depending on how much you use your Google Account! My backup was 20gb!)

Once you know the data, devices, and services that are connected to your account, you can monitor, clean up, and manage that data to minimize the risk of unwanted intrusion or misuse of your information. 


  1. Hello, Mr. Sowash I am Isaac Wiggins. I am currently enrolled at the University of South Alabama. I just set up a Google account in August. I know data needs to protected of how easy it is for people to hack an account. I found your post very beneficial for me as a student because I think we discount how easy people can get your information. I will set this up to my account immediately.

  2. Hi Mr. Sowash,

    My name is Emily Rodrick and I am also a student at the University of South Alabama and in the EDM 310 class. I enjoyed reading your informative post. I did not know I could access my account activity or download my account data. Your tips were helpful and I will be applying them to my Google account.


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