BOULDER, COLO.—November 16, 2021—ManagedMethods, the leading Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity, student safety, and compliance platform for education, today announced new research that found gaps in the cybersecurity strategies of district administrators when protecting their cloud collaboration and storage applications. The research findings were released in a special report, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: New Survey Identifies Gaps in K-12 Cloud Security, commissioned by ManagedMethods and administered by the EdWeek Research Center.
The report reveals 30% of district administrators with at least a medium level of influence on technology decisions do not have a security platform to protect cloud applications. In total, half of respondents either did not have a platform in place or did not know if a platform had been implemented in their district.
“School districts have long led the charge into cloud technology by embracing Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cloud applications. This new research tells us that some district administrators are unaware of the cybersecurity, safety, and privacy risks that come with using them,” said Charlie Sander, Chief Executive Officer at ManagedMethods. “Technology leaders need to know their cloud environments may be vulnerable, and that it’s their responsibility to secure them.”
District Leaders Believe Their Data Is Safe
Among district administrators, cloud security, safety, and privacy are not a concern, despite schools being heavily reliant on cloud applications. Sixty percent of respondents have a high level of confidence in the privacy and security of the data stored in their cloud applications.
- 37% are not concerned about data breaches and leaks.
- 45% are not concerned about compliance with state and federal laws that protect student data.
- 36% are not concerned about the sharing and viewing of explicit content on their devices.
District Leaders Unaware of Cloud-based Cybersecurity Threats
Of the district administrators surveyed that say they operate in a cloud environment, 28% do not know if they have a monitoring solution in place that protects the data in the school-provided cloud applications.
- 31% do not know if their cybersecurity platforms consistently monitor the level of risk of files shared with users outside the district’s domain, or monitor for potential violations of government regulations.
- 28% do not know if their cybersecurity platforms monitor the level of risk of files shared within or uploaded into their domains, or report who has access.
District Leaders Store Sensitive Information In The Cloud With Limited Security Budgets
The research findings show the median budget district administrators have available for cybersecurity is $20,000 annually. Of this amount, 20% will go toward protecting cloud applications in 2022. The research also shows that some of the most sensitive information districts have is stored in the cloud—or soon will be.
- 86% use cloud-based learning management systems (LMS) or plan to move these systems to the cloud.
- 69% have their human resources systems in the cloud or have plans to move to the cloud.
- 95% report students and/or staff collaborate using Zoom and/or Google Meet.
Built specifically for education, ManagedMethods provides technology teams a centralized command center for managing Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity, student safety, and compliance risks. The platform uses APIs and customizable policies to automatically prevent data breaches, account takeovers, ransomware and phishing attacks, and detect student safety signals in the cloud.
A webinar was scheduled for Thursday, November 18, to discuss the findings from the report, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: New Survey Identifies Gaps in K-12 Cloud Security, with a panel of school district IT leaders and cybersecurity experts. Click here to access the webinar recording.
About the Survey
The report, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: New Survey Identifies Gaps in K-12 Cloud Security, was analyzed based on the following nationwide survey commissioned by EdWeek Research Center:
Who: 214 district-level administrators who identified themselves as having at least a medium level of influence on technology decisions, including 54 technology officers, 52 district superintendents, and 30 curriculum and instruction directors.
What: A nationally representative, 31-question survey.
When: The survey ran from July 14 – September 15, 2021.
How: The survey was administered online.