Often vulnerable and underfunded, many educational institutions make prime targets for cybercriminals looking to access sensitive information. We are already seeing a steep rise in attacks in the education sector, and it isn’t difficult to see why: School networks are packed with personally identifiable information (PII) and often lack the budget or resources needed to properly secure it.
With all this in mind, there is now a growing need for effective security measures and practices within the education sector. Schools are managing larger amounts of online data than ever before, and this is only expected to accelerate as remote learning and virtual classrooms become the new normal.
Here are the top cybersecurity priorities that educational institutions need to keep in mind:
Incident Detection & Response
A security breach or incident can often go unnoticed for long periods of time if organizations are not equipped with the proper tools to detect breaches when they occur. Having a strong incident detection & response plan in place will help ensure that any damages caused by a breach are minimized. Additionally, systems should be monitored constantly for any unusual activity that might indicate a breach has occurred.
The best way to implement strong incident detection & response capabilities is by investing in an Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) solution, which provides real-time, 24/7 threat detection and monitoring. EDR tools provide the means to identify and respond to threats automatically and in real-time, drastically reducing the time needed to recover from an incident.
Vulnerability Scanning & Patch Management
Vulnerability scanning is the process of identifying potential points of exploit on a network in order to determine where there might be security gaps or vulnerabilities. This provides valuable information on potential security incidents and their impact while providing a guideline on how to adjust security procedures moving forward.
It should be noted, however, that vulnerability scanning is essentially useless if the organization does not follow through and take the actions required to mitigate security risks. All too often, we see public education systems that suffer from a lack of funding, and therefore do not receive the regular updates and patches that are critical to effective cybersecurity – A recent report indicated that there are still school districts in the US that have not been patched for WannaCry/EternalBlue ransomware a full two years after the fixes had been released.
Security Awareness Training and User Education
Even the most sophisticated cybersecurity systems are useless if the people using them do not understand basic cybersecurity concepts. All it takes is one malicious attachment opened by an unsuspecting school employee to compromise an entire network. It is therefore critical to invest in security awareness training and education so that users are aware of the potential threats faced when doing work online.
Why Schools Need SECaaS
What we are seeing in the education sector is an inadequate cybersecurity practice stemming primarily from a lack of funding and resources. Investing in and maintaining cybersecurity systems certainly isn’t cheap, and school boards simply do not have the funds to solve the issue.
This has created a very serious problem. With legacy security systems failing to provide adequate protection, our youngest and most vulnerable are left wide open to security attacks with no end in sight – K-12 schools in the US recorded a record number of security incidents in 2020.
Schools desperately need a security solution that is both affordable and effective, while maintaining the scalability and flexibility needed to adapt to the changing cyber-threat landscape. Stratejm SECaaS is the answer – Easily implemented, comprehensive security as a service delivering end-to-end protection without requiring any hardware or software commitments upfront. We are North America’s leading cybersecurity company providing 24/7/365 protection backed by our fully certified, fully staffed, Type II Cyber Intelligence Centre.