Nearly 50 million children are enrolled in 130,930 public and private K-12 schools in the U.S. With each student comes a scary amount of data: academic data, personal data, financial data, medical data, and more. The sheer volume of data is staggering. And this is just for K-12. Add on pre-K and post-high school students and the amount of data quickly increases. And while schools have implemented antivirus software, hardened firewalls and networks, invested in data backup, schools and the data they collect remain extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks.
According to the 2020 State of K-12 Cybersecurity: Year in Review, a report from the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, 2020 was a record-breaking year for attacks in schools. In fact, recent data shows that over 80% of reported cyberattacks are against schools.
Why do cyber criminals target schools and student data? Because most schools have limited funds for security protections. In 2020, school districts only spent $4 per student on technology. All technology! And for many schools that have IT departments, they are often small. These teams are stretched thin supporting the normal day-to-day functioning of a school’s complex technology network.
As a result, malicious threats can easily slip through the cracks. Not to mention, ransomware and malware typically infect devices using a link that is designed to look legitimate— if these links can fool someone who is educated on cybersecurity, imagine how easy it might be to dupe school administrators, teachers, parents, and students.
Three ways to pass the protect student data test
While a school’s purpose may be to educate, making the grade while protecting student data needs to be among a school’s top priorities. Technological advancements, including many of the remote learning strategies put in place due to the pandemic, have taken over our education systems, and this, unfortunately, doesn’t always accommodate optimal data protection protocols. This can lead to failing grades in data security. While there are federal laws and regulations that promote best practices, most of them are either outdated or misinterpreted. Every school can use these precautions as a study guide to secure student data:
- Enhanced Training: 95% of cybersecurity issues are due to human error, so enhanced training focused on device safety can go a long way toward preventing attacks. It’s not reasonable to expect every teacher to have the time or knowledge to provide this training, so a standardized training protocol that can be issued district-wide can go a long way towards making sure everyone passes the cybersecurity test.
- Standardized best practices: Students, staff, parents and administrators should be on the same page when it comes to best practices. Streamlined authentication, authorization, and monitoring solutions help manage resources and cut down on risks and unauthorized activity.
- Invest in easy-to-use affordable solutions you can trust: It’s imperative that schools keep student data out of unwanted hands. Cybersecurity literacy is vital when teachers and students are relying on devices. It’s not realistic to expect every teacher, parent, or student at every school to be experts in data security. That’s why you need an easy, adoptable data protection solutions. Since nobody likes to do their homework, these solutions should protect data in a way that doesn’t require teachers, parents or students to know how to code or encrypt.
Check out EB Control. It’s simple to use and affordable for every school. With EB Control, access to student data is easy to control. The application gives you the power to decide who can access any data, when, where and how it can be accessed. When it comes to data security, only an A+ will do. Click here to learn how EB Control can give your school and passing score and keep your student data out of harm’s way.