Last September, the Los Angeles Unified School District was hit by a ransomware attack at the start of the new school year. The second-largest educational district in the country, with more than 600,000 students and 25,000 employees, had its email taken offline and other internal systems affected by the cyberattack. When the district chose not to pay the ransom, sensitive employee data was posted online. While this attack may seem extraordinary because of its size and scope, digital security breaches like this are happening at educational institutions across the country. And school districts need to take defensive action against cyberattacks now before it’s too late.
With school districts across the U.S. being targeted by cyberattacks, the need for robust, cost-effective cybersecurity support is not just important–it’s now considered essential. But many local governments and educational institutions remain unprepared for this type of active threat. A recent report by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on the K-12 school cybersecurity landscape found that close to 50 percent of the school districts in the country have neither the staff nor the budget to adequately protect their IT infrastructure.
As schools look for solutions to bridge this security gap, one easy and cost-effective method they should consider is the adoption of mobile device management (MDM) platforms. A small number of schools are currently using this solution to their advantage. This includes public schools like the Interboro School District in Prospect Park, PA, which employs MDM to manage a fleet of iPads used to supplement classroom instruction. Interboro uses MDM to ensure the tablets are secure and functioning properly, the students using them are staying safe online, and the costs associated with maintaining the devices are minimized.
IT departments at K-12 schools in the U.S. should follow Interboro’s example. By using MDM platforms, they can keep their technology costs low in a time of economic uncertainty and increase the impact of their existing IT staff by freeing them up to be more proactive in protecting against cyberattacks.