Cyber Security Month – Is Your School Prepared?
A reputation can take 20 years to cultivate, and a cyber-incident can destroy it in a matter of minutes. October is Cyber Security Month – Is your school prepared? The need for cybersecurity awareness in schools is higher than ever. As more and more districts adopt new technology, new risks arise that threaten school operations as well as the safety of students and teachers.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in the adoption of new networking technologies in schools. These technologies make learning easier and schools more efficient, but they also come with increased risks. One of the biggest cyber threats facing schools today is ransomware. As of August 1, 2023, public schools were the highest-attacked in the United States. 80% of school IT professionals reported they were attacked by ransomware sometime in the last year.
School computer systems are being targeted by cyber criminals who are slowing down access and preventing the systems from performing basic functions such as remote learning. In some cases, ransomware criminals have stolen and threatened to expose sensitive student information if institutions fail to pay a ransom.
To combat cyber threats, schools should act quickly and efficiently. A few seconds can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major disaster.
Preparing for Threats
Schools have a variety of ways to prevent, protect against, reduce, and respond to cyber threats. These can be done before, during or after a cyber-attack.
Before an Incident
To improve the security of school networks and systems as part of a preparedness plan, schools can do the following:
- Create and implement responsible use policies. Before a student, teacher, or staff member can access a school’s network or systems, they should first understand the relevant policies, instructions, and regulations.
- Keep data safe to ensure the privacy of your whole school community and comply with FERPA regulations. Cloud technology makes this even more important. Cloud technology allows teachers and administrators to securely manage and share student information.
- Make it a habit to back up your data on a regular basis in the event of accidental or intentional data loss or destruction.
- Create a set of firewalls, as well as a list of who is allowed to access your network and system. Check the list regularly to ensure only authorized users have access to your systems.
- Monitor your networks around the clock to assess the cyber threat.
Beazley Cyber Portal: A Complimentary Benefit of Your OSIG Membership
The losses you suffer from a cyberattack can be quite devastating and most school districts don’t have an adequate financial safety net to stay afloat. With the ever-changing nature of cyber threats, OSIG is proud to offer our members exclusive access to Beazley’s Cyber Portal services. This must-have resource provides cyber risk management tools, educational resources and incident response strategies to protect against cyber risks. With Beazley Breach Response (BBR), it’s about more than just insurance coverage for your school; it’s about supporting your IT team and administration.
Balancing the use of technology to make education more convenient while safeguarding sensitive data from hackers is crucial. Please visit our Services Page at osig.org to learn more and sign up for services with Beazley Cyber Portal.