Schools are Teetering on a Cybersecurity Seesaw

Schools need accessible data and networks for a diverse audience of users, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, and third-party vendors. And on the surface, it seems that the cloud is making meeting everyone’s needs much easier. Yet the transition to cloud-based computing was oversold as a much less expensive way to manage IT, but the truth is that you still have to manage your school’s IT services and cybersecurity even when they are in the cloud. It’s a delicate balancing act.

Modern cybersecurity has increased in scope and cost in order to keep up with the more sophisticated requirements of compliance rules and crafty hackers, so finding money to support cybersecurity needs remains difficult. Managing and controlling all the potential weak points in data sharing among that large audience is a challenge. Doing it with inadequate resources is impossible.

The Downside: Data Loss and Expense
Budgeting for cybersecurity is key, but school districts who are unprepared eventually pay the ultimate price, as evidenced by a long list of schools impacted this past winter by a phishing scheme. In one district, a hacker, posing as the superintendent of the district, requested the W-2 forms for all district employees. The payroll employee who received it responded with a PDF file containing all 7,700 W-2s for every employee in the district in 2016, inadvertently delivering personal information to the hackers! This phishing scheme was so prevalent that the IRS issues a special alert to schools and several other sectors.

As you might imagine, the fallout is ongoing, but the district covered most of their losses with an existing cybersecurity insurance policy. The deductible was $25,000 but premiums are becoming more expensive every year as events increase in scale. The cost of premiums is often dependent on the security practices in place.

The Upside: An Affordable, Easy Cloud Security Solution for Schools
Security vendors are a dime a dozen. Most target large enterprises with wildly different circumstances. Cybersecurity experts recommend spending at least 2.5% of an annual IT budget on security improvements and modernization, and the standard infrastructure is recommended: firewalls, encryption, access control, backups and recovery systems. But increasingly, schools need cloud security as well, especially districts and states using Google G Suite/Google for Education, Microsoft Office 365 or OneDrive.

Most cloud security solutions are cumbersome and expensive, and out of reach for school districts with very limited budgets. Our Cloud Access Monitor tool integrates natively with Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive, so that schools can keep track of their data in the cloud and make sure the worst events never occur.

If the payroll employee in the phishing scheme discussed earlier was downloading the W-2 information from the cloud or emailing or uploading the attachment to the cloud, Cloud Access Monitor would have detected the sensitive data in the file and quarantined it as violating DLP policy. School districts around the country are deploying Cloud Access Monitor every day because it’s easy to setup and affordable to maintain. Give us a call if you’d like references to other school districts who rolled out and love Cloud Access Monitor.

Learn how Steamboat Springs School District uses Cloud Access Monitor to secure the data shared in Google G Suite.

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