Cybersecurity for K-12 Schools: What you need to know to keep your data safe

Education technology has positively transformed the productivity, communication, and collaboration that takes place in the modern classroom. However, the rapid increase in these digital tools has also exacerbated schools’ vuneralbity to cybersecurity threats. With more sensitive data and personal information stored in the cloud than ever before, K-12 districts are lush fields for malware, ransomware, and phishing. 

Platforms like Google Workspace for Education provide solid resources to protect your digital infrastructure from cybercriminals but a recent survey, conducted by ManagedMethods and EdWeek Research Center, found that schools are generally under-protected from targeted attacks. Half of the 84% of respondents using Google Workspace reported not having additional cloud security in place or not knowing if one already exists in their workflow. Unfortunately, it was discovered that there are three major reasons why K-12 districts do not implement greater cybersecurity measures. 

  1. District leaders believe their data is safe

  • 60% of respondents say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the privacy and security of data stored in their cloud applications and are most likely to use Google Workspace for Education Plus followed by Education Standard for protection

  • Only 23% are very concerned about data breaches and leaks

  • 16% are very concerned about compliance with state and federal laws that protect student data

  • 21% are very concerned about the sharing or viewing of explicit content on district-managed devices

  1. District leaders may be unaware of cloud-based cybersecurity threats

  • Almost 1 in 3 respondents are unsure if their cybersecurity systems consistently monitor the level of risk of files shared with users outside the district’s domain

  • The same amount does not know if their systems track potential violations of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and other government regulations

  • More than a quarter are unsure if their cybersecurity systems monitor the level of risk of files shared within or uploaded into their Google Workspace domains or records who accessed shared files

  1. District leaders devote limited resources to securing the cloud, yet their users store private information there

  • $20,000 is the median amount district leaders say they devote annually to cybersecurity and, according to the survey, 20% ($4,000) will go toward protecting cloud applications in 2022

  • However, 86% of district leaders either use cloud-based LMS systems like Google Classroom or plan to move to the cloud, and 95% reported that students and/or staff collaborate using Google Meet

Despite heavily relying on cloud systems, 30% of K-12 districts that do not have additional security, or are unsure if they do, say they lack the valuable protections they didn’t know they needed. To read the full survey, download it here.

In the meantime, schools should consider devoting sufficient resources to more efficient security tools like ManagedMethods, a Google Workspace cybersecurity, student safety, and compliance platform. 

To learn more about how ManagedMethods monitors your domain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by scanning internal and external emails for malware, identifying take over attacks, detecting content related to self-harm, cyberbullying, and more, and preventing loss of sensitive information like social security numbers, W2s, and health records, register for our upcoming joint webinar on January 13th.

If you are interested in purchasing ManagedMethods through Amplified IT to receive deployment and support at no additional cost, contact an account manager to get started.

  • Webinar: A safe and secure Google Workspace.

    Keep your students’, teachers’ and administrators’ private information and sensitive data safe by ensuring your Google Admin console settings are configured with security in mind. Learn how with this FREE domain security and data privacy webinar

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  • Jada Dawson
    Content Creation Specialist

  • About the Author:

    Jada joined Amplified IT in 2021 after 4 years of working as a high school English teacher in a Maryland public school system, and 7 years as a freelance copywriter, content writer, and editor. As the Content Creation Specialist, she is passionate about strategically using words to reach our clients and connect them to the benefit of our services for their classrooms and communities. When she is not writing or managing content, Jada can be found painting her next masterpiece, brushing up on her French language skills, traveling with her family, and teaching Sunday school at her church. She is an avid bubble tea drinker, and loves french fries.