Cybersecurity in Schools

July 18, 2022  |  by VectorUSA

Even before many schools turned toward remote learning in the last couple of years, technology has increasingly become a key part of educational delivery, student and staff management, and how districts stay engaged with their students and families. 

But, while the digitization of the education system has introduced new ways to communicate, teach, and stay connected, these new technologies have also brought with them new risks and challenges that school districts must protect against and prepare for.

In fact, one report noted an 18 percent increase in cyberattacks against schools in 2020—affecting at least 377 schools across 40 states—when compared to the previous year. 

So what can your school district do to keep your students, employees, and data safe, and where should you start first?

Why Proactive Cybersecurity in Schools Is Vital

School administrators and technology leaders have to constantly juggle pressures to keep their students, staff, and data safe while also keeping students and families connected with a seamless experience. 

While every school also has its own unique challenges, some of the most pressing demands on security to-do lists include:

Managing a Large and Diverse Technology Inventory

School districts have a wide range of technology assets, including videoconferencing devices, tablets, and laptops, each with its own maintenance needs, security controls, and configurations.

Educating Students and Staff on Cyberhygiene

Schools need to provide students and teachers with the tools and knowledge to use their devices and connectivity safely in order to protect their personal information.

Maintaining Compliance with Regulatory and Insurance Requirements

Many schools have to meet certain standards to maintain their cybersecurity insurance while also meeting requirements such as the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA requires schools to monitor students’ online content and behavior, safeguard their data, and protect them from online dangers.

Knowing About Evolving External Cyberthreats

Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly brazen in their attacks on schools, including:

  • Targeting legacy and unpatched technology
  • Launching ransomware attacks
  • Creating phishing attacks on students and staff

Key Elements to Robust Cybersecurity in Schools

Fortunately, as cyberthreats have evolved, so too have the tools that schools can use to proactively protect their communities and their data. 

For example, the key elements of a strong cyberdefense may include:

  • Network and Endpoint Security: Utilizing perimeter, application, and device firewalls and virus detection to protect against malicious traffic and leveraging network segmentation to limit access to sensitive assets
  • Vulnerability and Patch Management: Employing a consistent method to identify, track, and proactively remediate system and network vulnerabilities and test and deploy patches
  • Security Awareness Training: Creating ongoing role- and age-specific cyberhygiene training to give students and staff the tools and knowledge they need to stay safe and protect sensitive data
  • Identity and Access Management: Using modern technology, including multifactor authentication, to ease device and network authentication without sacrificing security across your enterprise applications
  • Off-Site Backup: Enabling your organization to bounce back from natural disasters or damaging cyberthreats that limit or deny access to enterprise data and critical systems
  • Data Loss Prevention: Preventing accidental and malicious attempts to send sensitive data to unauthorized destinations

VectorUSA Is a Leader in Cybersecurity for Schools

It only takes one vulnerability or employee mistake for sensitive data to leak or for a system to be accessed by an unauthorized individual, putting your entire organization at risk.

That is why your organization needs a trusted partner in its corner to provide the expertise and tools to keep your assets and people safe.

For more than 30 years, VectorUSA has been helping organizations like yours tackle their hardest technology challenges by finding the right mix of services, including:

  • Technical and programmatic assessments to find and test the right tools to stay ahead of cyberthreats
  • Strategic planning and budget forecasting to help organizations prioritize and plan for their investments
  • End-to-end technology implementation and managed IT services support
  • Deployment and monitoring of critical cybersecurity services and controls

VectorUSA has always had a customer-first approach, seeking to find the right solutions and tools to meet the challenge in an effort to be a long-term trusted advisor.

Take the Next Step

No matter the size of your school district or where you may be in your cybersecurity journey, VectorUSA has cybersecurity experience and expertise to be a partner you can count on for implementation, ongoing maintenance, and 24/7/365 monitoring.

We know firsthand that ensuring student and educator data security and satisfying all education compliance requirements is a challenging and continuous process, but VectorUSA has the experienced professionals and technology partnerships needed to take on tomorrow’s cyberthreats.

Want to learn even more about what cybersecurity threats your organization is up against? Then take a moment to check out our comprehensive checklist, “Cybersecurity Trends and Threats: 5 Key Areas To Stay Ahead Of.”

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