Cybersecurity in k-12

Cybersecurity: Protecting Your School from Cyberattacks

Despite cybersecurity being a top concern for K-12 edtech leaders, many districts still lack the staffing and resources to address the issue. Only one-third of districts have a full-time employee dedicated to network security. Additionally, 12% of districts said they do not allocate any funds for cyber defense, and two-thirds of edtech leaders said they don’t believe their district has enough resources to handle cybersecurity issues.

In recent months, several school districts have been targeted by ransomware attacks, which have resulted in data breaches and disruptions to instruction. Edtech leaders are concerned about other cybersecurity issues like network infrastructure, data privacy and security, and IT crisis preparedness.

Implement a Layered Security Approach

This means using a variety of security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems. Multi-factor authentication is a security layer that is simple to implement and reduces the risk of unauthorized access.

Invest in Cybersecurity Training and Awareness

Schools should provide comprehensive training for faculty, staff, and students on strong password management, identifying phishing attempts, and safe browsing habits. By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness, schools empower their community members to recognize and mitigate potential threats.

Keep Software Up to Date

Outdated software and unpatched vulnerabilities can leave systems susceptible to cyberattacks. Schools should establish a routine patch management process, ensuring that operating systems, applications, and web browsers are consistently updated.

Have a Plan for Responding to Cyberattacks

Even the best-prepared schools can be the victim of a cyberattack. Outline the steps to be taken during a breach, including containment, investigation, communication, and recovery. Schools can minimize the impact of security incidents by having a well-defined response plan and swiftly restoring normalcy.

The Enhancing K-12 Cybersecurity Act was introduced in Congress in April but has yet to be passed. The bill would allocate up to $20 million over two years for schools to improve their cybersecurity defenses.