5 Ways Schools can Improve Their Cyber Security 

Do you stay up at night worrying that your school will be the target of ransomware or a security breach? 

How do you plan for the worst when you’re unsure where to start? 

The education sector has ranked last among 17 industries in terms of cyber security, according to a study published by security ratings firm SecurityScorecard Inc.  

Becoming any type of expert in cyber security can feel nearly impossible and overwhelming, however, there are many methods you can use to improve your school’s security.

Here are five ways you can improve the cyber security of your school:

1. Join an IT Group 

Consider joining the CIS (Center for Internet Security, Inc.). K12 entities get to join free of charge. We suggest signing up for their alerts and checking out their CIS controls and benchmarks (there are simple guides to help you secure many common platforms, both software and hardware). Following the CIS controls in your organization is easy, and they have step-by-step guides available for your use for free. Also considering joining COSN (the Consortium for School Networking). 

2. Train your students and staff

Do training and remind your students and staff on how to avoid phishing and spear phishing scams. After unauthorized disclosures and breaches, phishing is reported to be the next biggest cyber incident group. Consider doing end-user training quarterly, not annually.   

3. Improve your passwords 

Consider using multi factor authentication passwords, and in particular, two-factor authentication (in addition to passwords that require complexity and minimum length, lockout, unlock timer and expiration).  

4. Perform network upgrades 

Ensure that you have created backups of all your critical systems and data (and ensure that your backup data server is protected from the rest of the network).  

5. Update your existing programs – and ensure you have the correct programs installed

Ensure that you have firewall and anti-virus installed and do regular OS updates. Also ensure that you have DNS filtering — DNS filtering improves security by blocking access to viruses, botnets, malware, ransomware, and phishing. It’s simple to install, as it is based in the cloud, which eliminates latency.