K-12 education needs a cybersecurity overhaul

The pandemic highlighted what was already becoming evident—cybersecurity threats can devastate a school district

The 2019-2020 school year faced unprecedented challenges with the abrupt shift to remote learning brought about by the pandemic. But while schools struggled to adapt to these changes, there was another troubling trend on the rise: a surge in cybersecurity attacks.

A recent report from the nonprofit K12 Security Information Exchange found that these incidents increased 18 percent over the last year to reach a record high, equating to more than two cybersecurity incidents per day.

This statistic underscores that the K-12 sector is increasingly becoming a prime target for attack. And, as the report put it, “while policymakers and school leaders have historically demonstrated a reasonable duty of care in protecting members of their school communities from physical security risks, natural disasters, and extreme weather events…such a commitment has heretofore largely been absent with respect to school-related cybersecurity risk.”

Given that the IT department and cybersecurity budget in most districts and schools significantly pale in comparison to that of a typical SMB, this is hardly surprising.

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