Episode 25: ManagedMethods Survey Identifies Gaps in K-12 Cloud Security
School districts have been among the leading adopters of the cloud, led by the increasing embrace of Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 applications. Yet, a recent ManagedMethods survey found school districts are behind when it comes to properly securing them.
The remote and hybrid learning made necessary by the pandemic led to a rapid increase in the use of cloud applications by students and staff to stay connected. Schools and classrooms have forever changed and will never go back to the way they operated before. It’s clear that K-12 cybersecurity strategies must also change.
With the help of EdWeek Research Center, ManagedMethods surveyed district-level administrators that have an influence on technology decisions. The survey found those decision-makers may lack the information and resources they need to adequately protect their data inside of cloud collaboration and storage applications. In fact, 30% of respondents to the ManagedMethods survey said they don’t have a cloud security platform in place.
In this episode of The K-12 Tech Experience, we are joined by ManagedMethods Chief Revenue Officer, David Waugh, and Senior Account Executive, Michael Summer. We discuss the findings of our research report and what it shows about the state of K-12 cybersecurity. The two discuss the results that surprised them most and what district IT teams need to keep in mind when it comes to protecting their Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 domains.
Check out a preview of the conversation with David and Michael below and visit the podcast player on this page to listen to the rest. Make sure to subscribe to The K-12 Tech Experience so you are always up to date with the latest episode!
JK: Before we get going into discussing our report, how about we start by having the two of you introduce yourselves to our listeners?
DW: It’s a pleasure to be here and thanks for the invite! I look forward to talking about this. It’s a very important topic. The data and findings that EdWeek Research Center provided certainly have shown that it’s a topic needing to be discussed.
Cybersecurity, cyber safety, and data protection need to be at the forefront of what school districts are thinking about coming into the upcoming year of 2022.
MS: I too am glad to be here and I will echo what David has said. It’s a very important topic. I am new to ManagedMethods and joined the team this past September after spending two decades in education as a technology director. This topic is very near and dear to my heart and an important facet of the security world. I’m looking forward to talking about it and what was found in the survey.
JK: In our report, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You, the main takeaway was that 94% of district-level administrators surveyed say they operate in the cloud. But, half of the respondents also said they did not have a cloud security platform in place or know if one existed in their district. Did this come as a surprise to you both?
MS: I was surprised a bit, but in a way, I also wasn’t surprised. The cloud-based environment in the realm of technology is fairly new. A lot of directors and administrators out there do assume that Google and Microsoft take care of their data—that it’s protected.
There is more education that directors need to learn and need to know where their data is being stored, and if it’s being protected. It does require more of a deep-dive and investigation into where their data is stored.
DW: I think the big challenge out there still is that districts of all shapes and sizes are still way behind the curve. They are still relying too much on legacy technology and security approaches. In many cases, I don’t think they realize how much they operate in the cloud.
It’s become such an everyday occurrence. If you talk to a lot of folks today under the age of 40 and ask them where they are interacting with that application on their phone. Many can’t even comprehend and explain the whole level of connectivity between the apps on their smartphone and the cloud. I’ve sat down with superintendents and technology leaders that don’t even realize their student information system is in the cloud. They couldn’t tell me if the data was stored in a data center that they owned and operated, or if it’s stored in the cloud.
A lot of times, district leaders don’t realize that the technology they have in place isn’t covering all the bases. I think that’s why this ManagedMethods survey is so eye-opening for many folks.
Listen to the rest of our conversation with David and Michael below and check out previous episodes on the ManagedMethods podcast page. Make sure to subscribe to The K-12 Tech Experience wherever you listen to your podcasts, so you never miss an episode!