S.O.S! Education Must Act Now to Improve Cybersecurity

As our society is becoming more dependent on technology, our schools are also adopting this trend. Schools are progressively storing more and more information digitally, on local networks or in the cloud. Alarmingly enough, the education industry ranked last in terms of total cybersecurity when being compared to 17 other industries in the U.S.

Hackers are becoming increasingly more proficient with their skills, but the education industry has not improved when it comes to protecting themselves. Education needs to start doing its part in protecting itself and its students from such risks.

Computer code on screen with a skull representing hackers attacking the education system

Information at Risk

The modern data collection offers a great deal of risk to student data. If an outsider accesses the data, they could be gaining access to students’ personal information. This includes their home address, personal health data, attendance information, and more. Not to mention the increase of Computer-Based Assessments for Learning poses even more privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

Internet-based data collection, learning, and management platforms have been more prevalent in schools, leading hackers to target this information. Schools are continuing to underestimate the need to protect their network infrastructure. This is a huge concern because schools are collecting a large amount of personal information from their students, but not protecting it. Teachers may have easier access to private information, but so do hackers.

Person with fingers on touch pad representing the education cybersecurity improvement. Locks and padlocks on diagram.

Education Security Weaknesses

Education is struggling in all aspect of cybersecurity. This includes application, endpoint, patching cadence, and network security.

Application Security

Strong application security is important when it comes to protecting a school’s software solutions that are used for testing and metrics. Software vulnerabilities are the top target for hackers.

Endpoint Security

Endpoint security is used to protect devices from unauthorized software users. The increase in classroom devices place education at a higher risk of endpoint security fails.

Patching Cadence

Patching cadence is the process of updating software to eliminate security vulnerabilities. In schools, this is typically delayed due to the time and resources, which can result in a gap of time for unauthorized users to access the system.

Network Security

Network security protects the usability and integrity of your network and data. This type of security is indispensable for schools to access classroom resources since more and more devices are being utilized in and outside the classroom.

 

The rise in attackers exposes the education industry to those actively seeking weaknesses to exploit. Schools must act as soon as possible to improve their cybersecurity before it’s too late.

Sources: SecurityScorecard

What solutions are out there for schools to improve their cybersecurity? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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