5 Cybersecurity Measures to Protect K-12 Schools

teenage boy school cybersecurity

Do your faculty and students know that the difference between a phishing email and a legitimate one could be the placement of just one letter? Do they know that their addresses, names, financial information and sensitive data can be compromised due to a cyber attack? 

As technology continues to advance in the education sector, it brings with it a whole new set of risks to school cybersecurity that IT professionals must be aware of. In this blog, we’ll discuss effective cybersecurity measures you can take to protect your school.

The Potential Risks Your School Faces

K-12 schools aren’t immune to the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats—in fact, because of the digital transformation so many schools have experienced in the last few years, they’re more vulnerable than ever before. 

With the increase in online learning, remote work, and connected devices in the classroom, school cybersecurity measures have become prime targets for attacks.

Your institution is especially vulnerable to:

  • Data breaches
  • Phishing scams and social engineering attacks
  • Ransomware attacks
  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks
  • Malware infections

With so many people accessing a school’s network and data, the potential for a school cybersecurity breach is high. Even with firewalls and antivirus software in place, schools are still susceptible to cyber attacks. So what is there to do about it?

5 Cybersecurity Measures to Protect Your School

The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect your school from potential cyber threats. Implementing these measures can significantly reduce the risk of a security breach and safeguard sensitive information.

1. Conduct a Security Risk Assessment

To begin, perform a comprehensive security risk assessment tailored to the specific needs of your school cybersecurity. Identify vulnerabilities, evaluate your current security posture, and develop a roadmap for improvement. A risk assessment helps you prioritize security measures effectively.

2. Raise Cybersecurity Awareness

An informed community is the first line of defense against cyber threats. Educate your staff, students, and parents about cybersecurity best practices. You can conduct regular awareness programs to teach them how to recognize phishing emails, create strong passwords, and report suspicious activities. 

3. Implement Network Security Measures

Enhance your network security with a multi-faceted approach:

  • Firewall and Intrusion Detection: Install and configure firewalls to monitor and filter incoming and outgoing network traffic. Implement intrusion detection systems to identify and respond to suspicious activities promptly.
  • Secure Wi-Fi Networks: Secure your Wi-Fi networks with strong encryption, unique passwords, and regular password changes. Restrict access to authorized devices only.
  • Regular Network Auditing: Conduct regular audits of your network to identify vulnerabilities and ensure that security measures are up to date.

4. Data Protection and Privacy

From addresses to birthdates, K–12 schools protect very sensitive data. Data protection measures, such as encryption, will prevent your students and parents from having to deal with the consequences of a data breach. Develop and enforce data protection policies to govern the handling of confidential information.

5. Incident Response and Recovery

Prepare for the worst by developing a comprehensive plan that outlines the steps to take in the event of a cybersecurity incident. Assign roles and responsibilities, and establish clear communication channels.

Safeguard Your School From Cybercrime With ANC Group

When it comes to protecting your school from cyber threats, partnering with experts can make all the difference. ANC Group has specialized in cybersecurity solutions for educational institutions for the last 20 years, and we don’t take the security of your school lightly. 

To learn more about how ANC Group can help protect your school, visit our website and take advantage of our free security assessment.