If you’re like most superintendents, risk managers and CTOs, the looming threat of your network being hacked, breached, or taken offline worries you. Let’s the main point out in the open—there is no single solution to protect your network, data, staff, and students. Even with a multitude of effective solutions and policies in place, you can still become a victim of a cyber attack. For that reason, it’s important to build an easy-to-follow plan that can minimize downtime and cost before a breach occurs.
School Districts as Targets
School districts are incredible attractive targets for hackers and identity thieves for several different reasons. In today’s technology world, district networks are no different than their corporate counterparts. They use the same companies, same software, same building blocks, therefore making then prime targets to hackers. Many resources are now online, so if you aren’t allowing the right data through your network, your teachers can’t educate and your students can’t learn. Exposing your network to these resources is generally safe, but hackers are trying every second of every day to locate vulnerabilities so they can access your data.
Systems and People
When most people think of IT, they think of networks, servers, and computers. The aspect of technology that many fail to consider is human error. If your systems are patched, your firewalls are secure, and your antivirus is up-to-date, it’s usually going to be one of your users who may accidentally compromise your security. In this regard, school districts are unique. They experience a much higher rate of turnover than their corporate counterparts. A greater emphasis is needed on IT education and awareness to help those people on the insider keep your network safe from the outside.
Securing Your District
Having a suite of solutions to cover all aspects of cybersecurity, plus an enforced policy, can greatly reduce the chances of an incident occurring. To secure your district, you’ll need the following:
- Email Security—Ensure any sensitive information you send is sent securely and encrypted.
- DDoS Prevention—Prevent outside sources from bringing your network down.
- Phishing Education and Testing—Prevent future information breaches by educating and training your staff through real-world phishing examples.
- Penetration Testing Assessment—Regularly check your network and your devices to see where vulnerabilities lie.
- Technology Education—Keep your employees and students up-to-speed on the latest cybersecurity threats, prevention measures, and best practices.
- Ransomware/Malware Protection—Prevent ransomware and malware from infecting your network, allowing you to keep your sensitive data secure.
- Cybersecurity Policy—Enact a policy that outlines what procedures to follow as well as steps to take when an incident occurs.
- Enterprise Identity Theft Protection—Monitor your employees’ credentials on the dark web to stay one step ahead of a potential breach.
- Individual Identity Theft Protection—Protect your top assets, students, and employees from hackers by enrolling them in identity theft protection.