As the pandemic continues to force educators to adjust to new technologies and new ways to reach student populations safely, hackers are taking advantage of the disruption by deploying a relentless barrage of cyberattacks.
These attacks are diverse, ranging from ransomware campaigns, phishing emails, and other social engineering strategies to preying on existing hardware or software vulnerabilities.
Incursions by hackers are not likely to slow down in the coming years. Schools rise to the challenge of offering remote learning opportunities and continue to access more complex technologies while working with shrinking budgets.
Underfunded IT departments — or lack of an IT staff — can make deploying strong cybersecurity protections a challenge for many school districts.
How to Deploy Cybersecurity in Schools for Maximum Protection
Every school wants to ensure their students' and staff's privacy and data are protected and safe from theft or loss. And while that might seem like a simple task initially, the reality is much more complex.
There are several places where vulnerabilities and weaknesses can provide access for malicious actors — and these susceptibilities can multiply quickly as environments, technologies, and users evolve.
Here are some examples of heightening your awareness of places where the potential harm can be averted with proper cybersecurity protocols.
- Require Staff and Student Education
This is one area where the education industry can shine — the education of staff, students, and other technology users.
Smart security officers ensure that employees and other users are trained on how to handle data and prevent cyberattacks, with training conducted on a rolling basis to meet evolving threats. And that is a smart move since good cyber-hygiene practices are critical to keeping data safe, as most hacking attacks exploit human vulnerabilities to succeed.
Organizations that emphasize training can detect attacks faster and can isolate and defuse them more quickly as well.
- Focus on Staying Updated
Your school's IT infrastructure — your hardware and software — is critical to keeping your staff and students connected and learning. But they are also a way for malicious actors to worm their way into your system.
To foil cybercriminals, it is essential to ensure both hardware and software are routinely maintained and updated as soon as patches and upgrades become available. A trusted third-party managed services provider (MSP) can perform this function for those schools with an overburdened or nonexistent IT department.
- Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst
Hopefully, your organization will not experience data theft or loss. But, if you do, it is critical to have a robust Disaster Recovery Plan as well as planned redundancies to ensure you can stay up and running in the event of an attack or a natural disaster that takes your system offline.
If you work with an MSP, they will create and deploy a disaster recovery plan and provide periodic, frequent backups stored in several places for additional peace of mind. Many organizations use cloud storage on multiple servers or a combination of cloud + on-premises backups for extra security.
Look to Blue Technologies for Comprehensive Cybersecurity
The education industry has been undergoing a series of challenges in the last year as they respond to coronavirus while adopting new and innovative ways to deliver a rich learning experience to their student population.
Many schools are overwhelmed at the prospect of assimilating and managing these new tech tools — and the risks that come with them. With budgets dwindling and demands growing, providing a curriculum under these conditions can seem nearly impossible.
That is where our team of professionals at Blue Technologies can help. Our IT experts have an in-depth knowledge of emerging cybersecurity protections, protocols, and threats, allowing us to provide our education clients with the highest level of protection available.
Our managed IT service team can assess your infrastructure, identify vulnerabilities, and provide the proper protocols to keep your — and your students' — data safe and secure.
Be prepared for a year of learning success — without worrying about compliance and data loss. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant today and get the advantage our team's cutting-edge knowledge can bring to your organization without putting an additional burden on in-house staff.