A universal truth over the last two years within the education sector has been this: Students need to continue learning, whether in school, at home, or somewhere in between. For many school systems and institutions, this meant sending students home with whatever device they could get their hands on–even ones that had been earmarked for disposal. Technology had to be put into the hands of students, one way or another. For many, this came at the cost of proper security precautions. Schools and institutions were at higher risk of security attacks, with more sensitive online data than ever before.
In the two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools have returned to a fully in-person learning environment. However, for many, the damaging effects linger–in 2021 alone, 67 separate ransomware attacks impacted 954 schools and colleges, putting at risk the personal data of more than 950,000 students, according to a study by security firm Comparitech.
As we head into a new school year, it is time to ask ourselves: How can we better prepare and protect our students to be a line of defense against malicious attacks? And furthermore, who is tasked with properly training them?
Here are some crucial considerations when it comes to the future of school cybersecurity training.
Why do schools have poor cybersecurity posture? How has COVID changed this?
Schools have been susceptible to cyberattacks as long as any other technology-using industry. While prior to COVID much learning, and even homework, was done offline, records, grades, data, etc. have been stored online for quite some time. However, unlike many technology companies and legacy organizations, there’s been a notorious lack of computer science training for school IT professionals. Education IT teams have been stretched so thin with the onslaught of remote learning, they had to scale, plan, and remediate at a quicker pace than ever before.