by Charlie Sander, for Security Info Watch

The risks have been there all along—COVID-19 made them obvious

Students and staff went from walking school hallways and cramming into classrooms and cafeterias, to staying home to halt the spread of the virus. In many cases, district faculty and staff were given a day or two notice that buildings were shutting down. The resulting effort to set up remote learning to continue students’ education is among the most admired stories of this crisis. K-12 IT teams, tech admins, faculty, and administrators moved with astonishing agility to enable at least some level of learning continuity.

In the rush to set up remote learning, districts frantically purchased new devices and technologies. This shift is being described as a boon for the EdTech Industry, as school adoption of cloud apps like G Suite, Microsoft 365, Schoology, Seesaw, and others skyrocketed. Many vendors began offering free or reduced pricing for their apps and services to support the cause—and increase their user base.

In fact, school districts are among the biggest adopters of cloud technology today. However, there is a downside to this. Districts are lagging in securing their cloud environments, leaving themselves exposed to emerging threats and cyber incidents. According to The K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, there have been 867 publicly disclosed cyber incidents since 2016. In 2019 alone there were 348, almost tripling the 2018 total.

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