How can you protect your school or district?

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Are you vulnerable? Do you have the right disaster recovery to get you back up and running if or when you are attacked?

Did you know that in 2021, the Education and Research sector recorded a 75% year-on-year increase in cyber-attacks!  Bad actors prioritize elementary schools because they’re underfunded when it comes to cybersecurity staff and systems, and administrators are often impatient to put attacks behind them and resume classes.  According to Sophos’ “The State of Ransomware in Education 2021,” the typical educational institution pays an average $112,435 ransom payment to get data back and networks running again. In addition, attackers encrypt the personal identities and financial data of students, parents, and administrators as part of ransomware attacks, at times threatening to publicly release such data to further pressure victims into paying the ransom.

Cyberattacks have hit schools and colleges harder than any other industry during the pandemic. In 2020, including the costs of downtime, repairs and lost opportunities, the average ransomware attack cost educational institutions $2.73 million. That is $300,000 more than the next-highest sector – distributors and transportation companies. From Aug. 14 to Sept. 12, 2021, educational organizations were the target of over 5.8 million malware attacks, or 63% of all such attacks. One major incident occurred in March with Buffalo Public Schools, where hackers were able to shut down classes for days, steal sensitive student and employee information, and destroy vital school records. This attack resulted in a $10 million pay-out.  Is it just big districts?  Unfortunately, the answer is no. Truth or Consequences is a small city in New Mexico. About 1,300 students attend the city’s schools. Its computer system was attacked in late December.  It’s also not just happening to ‘Other’ districts.  It’s in our own back yard. You have all heard about the recent events in Wisconsin. The problem isn’t going away.  Last year, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, warned schools about ransomware gangs. One is called PSYA. Another is known as Conti. Conti asked for $40 million from a large school system near Miami, Florida. The FBI said the groups are mostly Russian-speaking and based in Eastern Europe. The problem is growing and the attackers are getting better.

What do you do as an administrator to protect your district? Are you vulnerable? Do you have the right disaster recovery to get you back up and running if or when you are attacked?  Does your internal IT Team or your external partner have the knowledge and the tools to lead you to minimize the risk? There are many questions out there and if you are like most, you don’t know where to start to get the answers. The best way to know where to start is to know where you are. At Dependable we do what is called a Gap Analysis. We look at where you are today, where you want to get tomorrow, and what you need to get you there. We don’t just look at the technical side, but the business side. We look at costs, previous investments in technology, direction we are seeing in the IT world, and much more. When we are done, you have multiple reports that show you the security of your current infrastructure, items that need to be addressed immediately, in the next 12 months, and in the next 36 months. We look at internal or external staffing requirements and needs. We basically give you a 3-year roadmap so that you can start focusing on what you do best, educating your students. Once you know where you are, then we work with you to help you figure out where to go. The reports are written in such a way that you are not tied to Dependable. If you want, we can help you with the needed tasks and support. However, if you take this to your current internal support staff or if you already have external partners helping you out, you simply hand over these reports. You own the information.

With the demands increasing, and the budgets declining, you have to spend your budget with peak efficiency. You need a partner that has the expertise in the K12 world that can focus on your IT needs, so you can focus on your staff and students. Let us know if we can help you. Send us an email at info@dpndbl.com or give us a call at 866-437-6325 or complete the form below. A no obligation discussion can help you start down the path to protect your district.  We look forward to speaking with you.

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