What Is The Main Cybersecurity Concern For School Districts?

Cybersecure 2024 illuminates the challenges and opportunities for schools in strengthening cybersecurity.

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Clever released Cybersecure 2024, an annual survey of school administrators that offers an in-depth look at the state of cybersecurity across the U.S. K-12 landscape.

The survey found that one in three U.S. school districts ranked lack of dedicated cybersecurity personnel as their top challenge in safeguarding schools, in line with similar findings from CoSN that many district leaders lack sufficient cybersecurity resources and face budget constraints. The Clover survey found that 50% of districts reported wanting to spend more on cybersecurity than they currently do, underscoring the growing need for investments and preparation.

“Our collaborative stance on cybersecurity was strengthened by experiencing a major ransomware attack,” said Christy Fisher, Chief Technology Officer, Norman Public Schools. “It emphasized the need for cybersecurity insurance and the critical role of cross-departmental cooperation in negotiating and understanding the financial aspects of cyber risk.”

In addition, while 96% of administrators reported cybersecurity as something that should be a collaborative effort, only 17% reported their strategies truly reflect this team-based approach. As evidenced by these findings, cybersecurity must involve all staff—from IT staff to individual employees—in awareness, training, and prevention efforts to create a culture of shared data/system protection responsibility. Other key findings from the report, which features perspectives from more than 800 administrators, include:

Growing Cybersecurity Threats: Phishing and ransomware are identified as the biggest threats, with 80% of administrators concerned about phishing attacks.

New Cybersecurity Tools: 89% of districts want to adopt new tech tools to enhance protection, with a focus on identity and access management systems, data encryption, and zero-trust security models.

Increasing Vendor Scrutiny: Half of U.S. districts have updated vendor security criteria in the past 2 years; 55% are planning more changes in the year ahead.

To learn more about the state of cybersecurity in K-12 education, read the full report here.

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