It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month! Get a free Cloud Content & Behavior Audit and #BeCyberSmart
It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and ManagedMethods is joining organizations everywhere to promote the #BeCyberSmart campaign.
Cybersecurity is especially critical in schools. The use of cloud-based applications is becoming more widespread every day, and cloud cybersecurity continues to be overlooked by district leaders. While cybercrime has evolved, K-12 cybersecurity strategies have not.
According to recent surveys, over 90% of school districts use cloud applications like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, but many fail to secure those applications adequately.
For school IT leaders, cloud security is a new issue, and there isn’t a lot of awareness around how it’s different from network security and why it’s crucial. Further, persistent cloud security myths deter district IT leaders from learning about the new processes and tools they need to keep data stored in their cloud apps secure.
Behavior Analysis in Modern Cybersecurity
Traditional security tools are effective in fighting legacy threats that attack your perimeter. But they don’t adequately secure cloud access to address contemporary threats against cloud applications. Once a hacker gains access to your cloud data, which happens more often than we’d like to believe, they’re out of reach of traditional network security tools.
User behavior analysis focuses on monitoring user behavior for anomalous activity. It is part of an overall zero-trust cybersecurity strategy that many school districts are moving toward.
Anomalous behavior could be trying to log into the account from an abnormal location, such as another country. The anomalous activity could also be a user suddenly sharing many files outside of your domain or sending lateral phishing emails.
Here’s an example of how a cybercriminal could gain access to your sensitive data through existing accounts. Assume that a hacker gains access to a relatively low-profile teacher account. Now they’re “in the network” and can bypass many of your traditional security measures that are perimeter-based. They can use this low-profile account to gain access to higher-level accounts with access to more sensitive information. An increasingly popular way to do this is to launch a lateral phishing attack, which comes from inside your domain and isn’t flagged by most phishing filters because your own domain is trusted.
User behavior analysis in cybersecurity is also helpful for identifying insider data security incidents, whether they be accidental or malicious. One of the best ways to determine how vulnerable your data is to attack is to conduct a cloud behavior security audit.
7 Risks that a Cloud Behavior Security Audit Can Uncover
A cloud behavior security audit will identify user behaviors that indicate a cyberattack is happening or imminent. The audit will also spot unapproved or inappropriate behavior by your users. Sometimes this behavior is accidental, but it can also be malicious. These are the seven most common cloud security threats we’ve seen highlighted when we’re running audits with school districts:
- Account takeovers: When a user gains unauthorized access to another user’s online accounts, it’s called an account takeover. It’s a severe problem, whether it’s a student trying to bully another student by using their email or a hacker worming their way into your environment.
- Login attempts from unusual locations: If your district doesn’t have any association with Bulgaria, for example, someone trying to log into a school email account from that location is a problem. It doesn’t matter if the login was successful or not; it’s still something you need to address; it could be an early warning sign of a ransomware attack.
- Sudden spikes in user activity: Once you’ve defined normal behavior in your systems, you’ll know when that behavior changes. For example, if any user suddenly starts downloading files at a fantastic rate, it’s almost certainly something you need to investigate.
- Lateral phishing: A phishing email contains a malicious link or attachment as bait. Once the recipient clicks on the bait, they let a hacker into your cloud. In lateral phishing, a hacker has done an account takeover on a legitimate user email. The emails they send from that legitimate account are called lateral phishing emails. Lateral phishing is even more dangerous and costly because the email looks like it’s coming from a trusted source.
- Changing admin privileges: If a user changes admin privileges to give themselves or another user more permissions within your system, that behavior must be verified as legitimate and approved.
- Unusual and/or inappropriate file sharing and downloading: Data loss prevention is huge for district compliance with FERPA, HIPAA, and other federal and state data privacy regulations. If a user starts sharing or downloading large numbers of files, especially sensitive files, it needs to be investigated. This could indicate an account takeover has occurred. It could also be an insider DLP risk indication that an employee is disgruntled and doing something inappropriate with your district’s data.
- Risky or unauthorized OAuth permissions: OAuth permissions let users save time by using one set of login credentials to access multiple applications. Using OAuth is a popular way to connect various EdTech tools and various data systems. But, malicious and compromised OAuth app attacks are a newer threat vector introduced by cloud computing, and IT teams need to be aware of the OAuth risks in their domain.
Take Advantage of a Free Cloud Content & Behavior Audit with ManagedMethods
We’re offering a free 30-day cloud security audit for K-12 school districts to celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month!:
Signing up for a free audit is an excellent first step in gaining visibility and control over what is happening in your district’s cloud apps.
From the many conversations we’re having with district IT teams, we’re finding that the main reason why K-12 leaders are overlooking the issue of cloud application security is that they’re just not aware of all the risks in the cloud. And they think that their vendor providers are protecting their data for them.
If you’re like most district IT leaders, you might think that Google, Microsoft, and/or your various other edtech vendors are protecting your data for you. You might also believe that your next-generation firewalls and content filter are enough to protect you.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. And this misperception is part of what is fueling the dramatic increases in K-12 cyber incidents over recent years.
A cloud content and behavior security audit will be a real eye-opening experience for you. Take it from Vaughn De Fouw, Infrastructure Engineer at Kettle Moraine School District:
“Knowing what’s going on with our data and our logins is required for security and privacy. ManagedMethods pulls everything together into an easy-to-use dashboard. I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to use the built-in Google and Microsoft admin tools and trying to manage the complexities.”
When you sign up for a 30-day free cloud content and behavior security audit, here’s what you can expect:
- After you sign up, we’ll reach out in minutes to confirm your details and that you have admin access to your district’s Google and/or Microsoft 365 domain.
- You’ll receive an activation email that will walk you through the setup steps. The setup is easy and usually takes about 15 minutes!
- We’ll schedule a call with you about 7 to 14 days after you activate to discuss some of the preliminary results, show you what you can do to fix issues that we’ve found, and adjust risks if needed.
- We’ll let the audit run for 30 days in your Google Workspace and/or Microsoft 365 environment. Our customer success team is always available to answer questions and provide additional training and support! The team is based at our company headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, and is highly rated by district IT teams that we partner with.
- After 30 days, we’ll do another check-in to go over your audit results and do what we can to help you determine what your next steps should be.
Now is the time to audit the content and behavior in your district’s cloud apps and make sure you’re going into the holiday season with as much visibility, control, and protection as possible. Sign up for our free audit to and #BeCyberSmart.