Securing Our Digital Future: A Guide to Cybersecurity for Schools

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and while the importance of cybersecurity is taken quite seriously in business, financial, and healthcare industries, it is often overlooked in K-12. Yet K-12 schools are now the number-one target for cybercriminals.

Cybersecurity Threats in Educational Environments

Phishing, data breaches, and ransomware are the most common threats to K-12 schools. When a school is compromised by a cyberattack, the incident not only wreaks havoc with the school’s ability to deliver curriculum, but the cost of paying ransoms, managing downtime, and recovering data can be significant. A cyberattack also can result in a lack of trust in the school from parents and the community.

Steps to Enhance Cybersecurity in K-12 Schools

K-12 schools can take several actions to ensure that they are doing everything necessary to protect sensitive student information. This includes:

  • Establishing clear cybersecurity policies
  • Conducting risk assessments
  • Encrypting data
  • Restricting access to data
  • Providing ongoing awareness training
  • Initiating regular patch management practices
  • Implementing firewall, antivirus protection, and threat detection systems
  • Ensuring comprehensive backup-and-recovery planning
  • Conducting audits
  • Budgeting adequately for necessary cybersecurity measures
  • Requiring any third party to meet the same rigorous requirements

Everyone Plays a Role

The number and complexity of attacks against schools is on the rise. Every school district has a responsibility to help educate students, staff, and parents about cybersecurity and to put policies and procedures in place that help protect them. Because of the personally identifiable information (PII) that schools are required to maintain, schools will continue to be a target; so, the only way to prevent attacks that threaten data privacy is to ensure everyone knows how to recognize phishing emails, how to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA), and how to report suspicious activity.

Let Lumen Touch Help Secure Your School

In order to know where you need to make improvements to your cybersecurity strategy, you need to know where your weaknesses are. That’s why Lumen Touch is offering a security audit service for schools: Bright LITE™

Our customized service offering provides individuals and organizations with the information and education necessary to efficiently evaluate both the risks and opportunities they face. Email to schedule your audit.