Yet another school district fell victim to a ransomware attack this month. In just the past month, there were more than 16 disclosed ransomware attacks – half of which were on schools. In the past month, another ransomware attack, on Norman Public Schools, has completely debilitated the district. Both K-12 and higher education institutions are becoming a primary target for cyber criminals. What can schools do to better protect themselves, their staff, and their students from these attacks?
Many schools don’t have enough staff to monitor their networks 24/7, but hackers put schools under attack over the weekend when no one is paying attention. By the time school resumes on Monday morning, the damage may be extensive. To help prevent attacks, 24/7 monitoring and offsite backup are essential. These services are best provided by a managed services partner who have the tools, experience, and expertise to both analyze your infrastructure and ensure that you have the best solutions for your district in place.
Ongoing Employee Awareness Training
With schools under attack, the single biggest threat to school data protection is staff. However, the single biggest source of protection is that same staff, when they are well-versed in recognizing and reporting threats. When empowered by policies that allow them to refuse to click links, open files, or issue payments based solely off an email, they are the first line of defense. Provide your teachers, office staff, and support staff with ongoing training and updates about the latest threats. Encourage them to stop and think before clicking. Allow them to refuse action if they sense a threat. An extra moment of caution is often all it takes to prevent the attack.
Employ School Passport to Protect Your Student Data
Rather than be required to provide roster data to each edtech vendors with whom you choose to work, School Passport allows schools to integrate their SIS and/or LMS with School Passport one time then, have one-click rostering with thousands of edtech applications. Through School Passport, your district can provide a library of vetted edtech choices to your teachers, without them downloading rogue edtech directly from the internet and sharing student data. And with IDM embedded in School Passport, school administrators don’t have to manually create, update, or delete accounts.
Threats against schools are not going away, so all you can do is be more proactive in having the right security in place to make sure your district isn’t the next victim. School Passport is the open standards platform that securely integrates everything. Learn more.