By Charlie Sander, CEO, ManagedMethods.
K-12 cybersecurity is much more challenging for IT teams now that school districts have shifted into remote learning. Students and staff are no longer in school buildings—at least not full-time—and can access sensitive data from anywhere, at any time, and on any device because of the cloud.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only caused a disruption in classroom environments, it also disrupted and forced a major shift in the cybersecurity strategies of K-12 IT teams. The data of students and staff, along with all the email, applications, and documents are now being accessed outside of school networks. IT teams are essentially flipped upside down when it comes to what needs to be closely monitored and are restrategizing to do so.
The use of cloud applications from afar, such as those within Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, is increasing and it’s causing IT teams to lose visibility and control of what is happening online. As K-12 IT departments and teams continue shifting cybersecurity strategies, here are three things to consider to be better protected.
- An Explosion of Access Points
Students and staff are continuing school and work from home, even after returning for a short period at the start of this school year. This means that the number of access points into a school district’s network and domain has virtually exploded.
Previously, students accessed school accounts from inside the classroom using devices that stayed in the building and connected to school networks. Now, districts are bringing hundreds of thousands of new devices into their digital environment, which students and staff are using to access school data from anywhere, at any time.
Further, this access largely comes from home and public networks, which aren’t typically as secure. District IT teams also don’t have any control when it comes to firmware and hardware updates of the technology being used in homes—and that’s if a home even has the means to have an internet connection.