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Data Compliance & Cybersecurity for K-12 Schools

Keep Your School Compliant by Following These Technology Tips

A failure to remain compliant can spell doom. But what many Executive Directors and Operations Managers don’t realize is that compliance and security go hand in hand. Compliance is in place to prevent security breaches and give guidelines for what to do if a breach does occur.

Your school won’t become compliant on its own. It takes plenty of time, effort, and money. Before you spend time and money trying to figure out if your school is compliant or not, you should ask yourself the following:

  • Does my organization have antivirus software, and is my network protected by a firewall?
  • What data are we encrypting?
  • Do I have a system in place to manage network-connected devices?
  • Are there disaster recovery plans in place, and do I use backup solutions?
  • Is there a business continuity strategy?
  • Do I have cybersecurity training for staff?

Answering these questions will give you a better idea of what needs to be done. Before you rush out to buy technology and equipment to fill any holes, you should focus on training your team.

According to a study by IBM, 95% of cyber security breaches stem from human error. The reality is that employees who have not bought into a cyber-secure culture are putting your school at risk. You must have some type of employee training in place so they can learn all they can about cyber security. Without proper training, you cannot expect your employees to be inherently cyber-secure.

After you’ve fully trained your staff, you can put more focus into bringing in the proper technology and equipment to plug any lapses in your compliance plan. If you don’t have antivirus software or firewalls, you should invest in them before anything else. Once those are in place, you can focus on a few specific pieces of technology to make your school more compliant.

One of the best investments you can make is to put an email spam filter in place. Email-based phishing attacks are one of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to gain access to your school’s valuable information. All it takes is one click on the wrong link to compromise the entire network. With a filter, you won’t have to worry about your staff accidentally clicking on a sketchy email because it will never make it to their mailbox in the first place.

You should also introduce strong security password practices and multi-factor authentication. Part of your staff training should include tips and strategies for creating strong passwords. Oftentimes, people will use the same passwords for every account, leaving your organization vulnerable. Multifactor authentication ensures your staff will receive a text message authorizing their login and is a simple way to ensure your bases are covered.

Staying compliant is an important part of your technology infrastructure. However, it takes time to put these practices into place. If you feel like you don’t have time to get your cyber security measures in place or if you simply need more information about managed services providers, give us a call. We would be glad to help.