How-to Action Plans to Navigate Developing K-12 Education Trends

by: Brian Thomas, President and CEO of Lightspeed Systems

Educators are quite familiar with overcoming challenges, as the last four years have presented more disruption to school districts than at any time in recent history. Despite the unparalleled levels of disruption, several developing K-12 education trends have emerged.

This post highlights four prevailing education trends and provides an overview of how-to action plans to get your district proactively addressing its highest-priority challenges.

Cyberattacks on K-12 Schools Continue to Rise

Cybersecurity attacks present a costly threat to school districts across the United States. According to Comparitech, a cybersecurity and online privacy product review website, global ransomware attacks against K-12 and higher education institutions—breaching over 6.7 million personal records—cost over $53 billion in downtime between 2018 and mid-September 2023.

Cyberattacks on K-12 school districts are rising as cybercriminals identify districts as lucrative targets. Student information systems (SIS) store personally identifiable information (PII) of both students and staff, and many districts simply lack the resources to layer essential cybersecurity measures. The result is district data remains increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The Lightspeed Systems 2022 EdTech App Report showed most districts have more than 2,000 apps in use across their student population, but that only 300 apps account for 99 percent of student use. Regardless of usage rates, district IT leaders are responsible for safeguarding students’ personally identifiable information (PII) on all apps in the district, including the remaining 1,700 infrequently used apps. Unsecure websites and “rogue” apps, those used by staff and students but not vetted by IT, easily slip through the cracks, creating openings for cybercriminals to enter.

Recovering systems after an attack is both costly and time-consuming. In addition to often paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom, district networks are down an average of four days, and require30 days to fully recover.

Action Plan:

  1. Audit all applications in use across your school district, their privacy policies, and data security practices. Third-party analysis of privacy policies provides a reliable source of expertise. These steps can be completed manually or accelerated with digital intelligence software.
  2. Block students and staff from accessing new and unknown websites. Millions of new sites come online each day and the vast majority aren’t educational. These sites can be malicious and until they are categorized by your web content filter, the safest option is simply to prohibit access. If you’re using a web filter with an AI-driven dynamic database, educational or appropriate sites won’t remain uncategorized for more than a couple of hours.
  3. Inform all stakeholders about the importance of cybersecurity and data privacy to empower them with the knowledge to protect their privacy and the community. Mitigate risk by teaching staff and students about phishing emails and rouge apps to help prevent them from unintentionally opening malware that will leave them and your district vulnerable.

 


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Lightspeed Systems
Mike Durando
Vice President of Sales
512-439-3995
mdurando@lightspeedsystems.com

sales@lightspeedsystems.com

Learn More About Lightspeed Systems

On Demand Webinar: K-12 Cybersecurity & Safety Incident Response Best Practices For 2024

K-12 Technology Leaders Share Advice To Help You Improve Your District’s Early Detection & Response Process

“It’s not if, it’s when…” 

We’ve heard the saying so many times that it’s almost become cliché. But the reality is that even if you had unlimited time and budget (which you don’t), there is no way your district would be 100% protected from a cyber incident.

That fact is why incident response is critical to protecting your district’s students, faculty, staff, and finances.

Join ManagedMethods for our first K-12 Cybersecurity & Safety Leadership Series webinar of 2024! You’ll learn from a panel of your peers, who are donating their time to share their experiences and expertise with you.

During this session, we’ll discuss how K-12 technology teams have become a focal point for cybersecurity and student safety incident detection and response. Learn how other K-12 technology teams are managing the incredible responsibility—and workload—that has come with our increasingly digital learning landscape.

You’ll learn about the processes, tools, and resources they use to develop and continually improve upon their incident response processes. They will share their advice and real-world examples of how early detection and response have helped protect their districts’ data and, in some cases, students’ lives.

During this session, you will learn:

  • Why early detection and response is critical for cybersecurity & safety incidents in K-12 school districts
  • How responding to cybersecurity and safety incidents are different, and how they are similar
  • How to get started with your own incident response process—or how to improve one you may currently have
  • How to take the next step by auditing your district’s Google Workspace and/or Microsoft 365 domains to see where critical risks exist

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

David Waugh
Sales and Marketing Vice President
303-415-3643
dwaugh@managedmethods.com

Learn More About ManagedMethods

SecurED Schools: K-12 Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Conference

A two-day professional development event focused on data privacy and cybersecurity

SecurED Schools is an annual conference hosted by the Learning Technology Center that focuses on cybersecurity and data privacy best practices, strategies, and tools. Over two days, attendees participate in hands-on demonstrations, panel discussions, and presentations led by local, state, and national experts.

The goal of SecurED Schools is to improve the security posture of school districts. We know that the global pandemic fueled digital transformation and technology adoption in school districts across our country. With increased reliance on technology to empower learning comes increased risk, and PK-12 technology and education leaders increasingly understand the vulnerability of their networks and data.

Audience

  • Technology leaders (CTOs, technology directors, IT managers)
  • IT staff (network engineers, IT support staff)
  • District/building administrators
  • Anyone responsible for collecting, maintaining, reporting, certifying, and/or protecting and securing student data in an educational environment

Where and When

Dates: January 16 & 17, 2024
Location: Virtual
Cost: $50
PD Hours: 11

Looking for the schedule or have additional questions?

Check out the 2024 Schedule online or contact Jared Lynn (jlynn@ltcillinois.org) with questions.

Optimizing Cyber Insurance: The Importance of Building Strong Defenses

The cyber insurance landscape is evolving rapidly, driven by a surge in claims, particularly within the education sector. Active adversaries specializing in ransomware attacks are increasingly targeting educational institutions. In fact, in the U.S., 56% of K-12 and 68% of Higher Ed experienced significant impacts from ransomware in the last year.

Even though most institutions already have some cyber insurance, they’re discovering that the cybersecurity standards for qualification have risen. Policies are also getting more complicated, and premiums are on the rise.

Join us in this upcoming webinar as we address:

  • Recent changes, priorities, and focus areas in the cyber insurance industry
  • Best practices to help minimize cyber risk and lower costs
  • Suggestions for optimizing cybersecurity investments

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Kyle Thomas
SM SLED Manager
732-564-8526
Kyle_Thomas@shi.com

Learn More About SHI

Cybersecurity Best Practices and Funding Strategies for K12 Schools

Join Bluum for an engaging webinar that delves into implementing cybersecurity best practices in K12 schools. This webinar aims to equip educators, administrators, and IT professionals with comprehensive insights into services and products available to you through Bluum and how to fund them. From strategic planning to implementing effective protocols, our panel of experts will discuss practical approaches to strengthen digital infrastructure against cyber threats.

 


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Joel Anderson
Sales Director- Central Territory
612-455-3668
joel.anderson@bluum.com

Learn More About Bluum

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How To Recover From A Cyber Attack: 8 Tips For K-12

Worried about what might happen if your school district suffers a data breach?

You’re not alone. Schools across the United States are bracing for impact, awaiting the day a malicious incident puts their cybersecurity strategy to the test. And, as cybercrime rises worldwide, it’s only a matter of time before it does. In the spirit of planning ahead, let’s discuss how to recover from a cyber attack so that you can better protect your students from a future security breach.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

David Waugh
Sales and Marketing Vice President
303-415-3643
dwaugh@managedmethods.com

Learn More About ManagedMethods

MISSION CRITICAL: ADVANCE SCHOOL CYBERSECURITY

Join us for a ClassLink #CyberSession on November 29, 2023! You’ll learn about a no-cost tool to improve cybersecurity in this concise, 2-hour event.

You’re doing everything you can to improve cybersecurity in your schools, but how do you know if it’s enough?

Join ClassLink leaders and cybersecurity experts at the ClassLink CyberSession, where they’ll introduce you to the Cybersecurity Rubric (CR). The CR is a free tool school leaders can use to self-assess their cybersecurity practices and make significant improvements.

Along with an introduction to the CR, you’ll learn how the White House’s Secure by Design pledge will reduce the security burden on schools. Plus, uncover strategies for using new ClassLink features to make your schools more cyber-secure.

Made for busy leaders, this session is short and filled with actionable insights. Register now to find your path to stronger cybersecurity.

(This session will benefit all school leaders and is not restricted to ClassLink schools.)

What to expect:

✔️ Gain Access to the Cybersecurity Rubric
✔️ Understand how the #SecurebyDesign pledge reduces the burden on schools
✔️ Discover new cybersecurity features in ClassLink

 


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

ClassLink
Lyle Dadian
Director of Instructional Technology
M: 414-588-9181
O: 862-203-2099
ldadian@classlink.com

Learn More About ClassLink

Cybersecurity best practices for K-12 schools

Earlier this year, we joined private sector and government cybersecurity leaders at the White House for the “Back to School Safely: Cybersecurity for K-12 Schools” event. There, we shared a K-12 Cybersecurity Guidebook that includes best practices to help school IT administrators prepare to return to school safely.

For Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re sharing a few highlights from the guide — now available in more than 30 languages — plus other helpful resources. Admins can also sign up for our Safer Digital Learning event on October 25, where we’ll demo more of the guide’s security features and best practices to keep schools safe from cybersecurity threats.

The importance of cybersecurity tools for schools

Educational institutions are top targets for cyberattacks, with bad actors looking to exploit schools for their own profit. Forty-six percent of schools which have yet to be targeted believe they’ll eventually be attacked.

We’re committed to helping schools keep data secure and digital learning environments safe. Our education products, like Google Workspace for Education and Chromebooks, can improve schools’ cybersecurity and make it easy to implement the recommendations in our guidebook.

With Google Workspace for Education, admins can get a complete view into security with notifications, alerts and actions in the alert center. They can also manage access to tools with two-factor authentication, single sign-on and password management, set their own data rules and policies with data loss prevention.

Meanwhile, Chromebooks are highly secure, scalable and easy to use thanks to their built-in security features. In fact, there has never been a reported ransomware attack on any business, school or consumer ChromeOS device. And they help protect schools from evolving threats with 10 years of automatic software updates.

Six Cybersecurity Tips for a Successful School Year

Headshot

By Jeff Janover
VP of Security & Interoperability, ClassLink

In today’s digital landscape, hackers and bad actors have developed increasingly sophisticated methods. Their main goal is to steal personal information for malicious purposes and wreak havoc on your system. There are many digital pitfalls. However, there are plenty of protective measures you can take to keep your school safe. Fortifying your cybersecurity skills can help shield school systems from cyber attacks. Below are some cyber preparedness tips to help safeguard your school’s data:

  1. Identify fake websites. Bad actors often create deceptive sites aimed at harvesting personal data, employing URLs that closely mimic legitimate ones. Always double-check a URL before engaging with a website. Fraudulent URLs might use subtle variations like numbers, letters, and dashes that may go unnoticed.
  2. Dodge phishing emails. Be wary of phishing emails that often ask for login credentials or other personal information. Phishing attempts are deceptive because an email domain may appear similar to a trusted email account. For example, an email from staff@sunva11ey.edu is not the same domain as staff@sunvalley.edu. 💡 Notice the letter “l” is replaced by 1s in the phishing email’s domain. If you receive an email from ClassLink requesting personal information such as your login credentials, it is a phishing attempt.
  3. Avoid suspicious links. Only click links you trust. For increased security, add commonly used links to your school’s website for students, educators, and staff to access easily. For even more security, transform any link into a LaunchPad application, bolstering both convenience and safeguarding!
  4. Implement MFA. Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible to add layers of identity protection. ClassLink offers extensive MFA options that help secure online accounts, even if your username and password get compromised.
  5. Implement cybersecurity training. Require mandatory cybersecurity training for all staff and students. You can create your own training or use a training service to help keep your school secure. One option is ClassLink Academy, available in your LaunchPad account! The following courses offer a robust understanding of how to protect against cyber attacks:
    • Security Awareness Anthology (available for ClassLink Administrators, educators, and staff)
      • 1.1 Online Security Fundamentals
      • 1.2 How to Protect Your Data
      • 1.3 Phishing Attack Protections
      • 1.4 What is Social Engineering
    • Directory Services (available only to ClassLink Administrators)
      • 2.1 Scope Your Google Directory
  6. Report suspicious activity. Unexpected logins, changes to passwords, and other unauthorized actions are examples of suspicious activity. If you notice any login attempts or password changes that seem out of the ordinary, reach out to your tech team. At ClassLink, we take all reports seriously and will work to investigate any unusual activity. Thanks for helping us keep everything safe and secure!

Take your cyber readiness to the next level with the Cybersecurity Rubric. The Cybersecurity Rubric is a free self-assessment tool that you can use to assess your school’s cyber preparedness.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

ClassLink
Lyle Dadian
Director of Instructional Technology
M: 414-588-9181
O: 862-203-2099
ldadian@classlink.com

Learn More About ClassLink

WEBINAR: K-12 Tech’s Security & Investigation Survival Guide

After what you’ve been through over the past several years, preparing for the worst is just about part of your daily routine.

Alas, summer break is right around the corner, and you know what that means—summer projects!

Join ManagedMethods in expecting the best while preparing for the worst during our next installment in the K-12 Cybersecurity & Safety Leadership webinar series.

We’ll discuss practical tips and recommendations for security, safety, and incident response that you can implement over summer break so that your district can thrive, not just survive, in the 2023/24 school year.

During this session, you will learn the following:

  • What other district technology teams have planned for summer projects
  • Practical tips for what they’ve put in place in previous years that have helped their teams with incident protection and response
  • How they’re keeping their districts’ data secure during summer vacation and staying vigilant for the inevitable back-to-school risk period

Register now to take part in the conversation and arm your district with the security and investigation strategies and skills needed for a successful school year.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

David Waugh
Sales and Marketing Vice President
303-415-3643
dwaugh@managedmethods.com

Learn More About ManagedMethods