K-12 educational sector cybersecurity legal requirements are a constant area of concern for Information Technology managers in that sector. 

The K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center reported that there were as many as three times the amount of cyber incidents registered during 2019 in United States school districts than during 2018.

With this in mind, and with the thought in mind that school districts need to spend more time bolstering their cybersecurity efforts we have put together a list of five key elements that should be a part of any K12 security strategy. They are: 

  1. Never Allocate Local Admin Rights: When students are assigned local admin privileges bad things can happen quite easily. If a user installs malware or other types of malicious code it obtains the rights and privileges of that user. Hackers aim for younger people to try and tick them into downloading games and other applications that are hiding malicious payloads. Once local admin rights are allocated it is much easier for cybercriminals to share malware and viruses.
  2. Advanced Internet Filtering: The educational sector has changed considerably and a lot of online classes are held these days. Due to this an internet filtering solution is a must and any school systems that receives e-Rate funding is legally obliged to have a configured content filtering solution.  But content filtering is not adequate for Internet filtering.  Schools require an advanced DNS Security and DNS content filtering system like WebTitan.  WebTitan’s DNS Security system prevents students from accessing malicious websites and internet based malware portals.  It audits and lists malicious threats in real time and strips internet packets of malware and malicious code, thus preserving the safety of the online learning process.
  3. Removing Legacy Technology: Removing legacy technology is important as, when they are no longer supported with updates and patches, such as Windows 7 machines and can cause havoc by allowing malware variants to infiltrated databases that they are linked to.
  4. Apply Updates and Patches Quickly: A lot of the time updates and patching are delayed so as not to impact any learning times in schools. This can result in hundreds or thousands of computers with unpatched vulnerabilities and security gaps.  Patches must be run as a priority as soon as they become available.  Internal IT must have some way to manage the update process using a device management system such as Group Policy or an MDM solution.
  5. Configure an Email Security System: Email will always be the primary delivery system for malware and virus attacks, as long as it remains the most common messaging solution globally. An education enterprise grade email security solution should be able to tackle spam, viruses, ransomware and embedded links to malicious web pages, but incorporates data leak prevention policies as schools host a great deal of highly personal data related to the  student body and staff members.  SpamTitan is perfect for this as it uses double antivirus protection as well as protection from zero-day attacks. 

Conclusion

Incorporating these five key components into a K12 Security strategy will go a long way ensuring that K-12 institutions remain safe in the face of cyberattacks. Fet in touch with a TitanHQ Security Expert today to see how they can help protect your school’s students and teachers.