While IT departments at schools across the country may realize the risk cybersecurity incidents pose, many of these teams are simply stretched thin because they are simultaneously working on incorporating many other hardware and software systems and applications. Significantly, many K-12 IT leaders participating in the CoSN survey felt that they were inadequately staffed to perform certain IT functions, and only 54 percent said that they are monitoring for cyberattacks in real-time.
Outsourcing some network security functions is one way for schools to strengthen data and privacy protections without increasing the work volume for their in-house IT departments. Managed network services can not only help to mitigate the potential risk of service interruptions, but can also free up the school’s IT professionals so they can focus their efforts on the most strategic priorities vs. trouble shooting.
Considering managed security services
Using a managed service for network security provides those extra arms and legs that a stretched K-12 IT department needs and offers a scalable solution that is critical as schools grow.
Around-the-clock managed security services can help K-12 IT teams:
- Provide a strong firewall for their networks
- Automatically detect, redirect and mitigate malicious internet traffic
- Protect against malware and viruses
- Ensure security protocols are up-to-date
- Support compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
- Budget for predictable costs for both equipment and maintenance
- Access support teams and deploy technicians to fix problems 24/7/365
Tapping into federal funding for help
For many schools and districts, costs to maintain and manage network security can also be challenging. However, there are federal funding options available to help. It is important to be aware that the money received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 can be used to upgrade technology and resources for improving the digital learning experience, which includes helping to ensure that network security is protected.
As schools and districts move forward with efforts to continually enhance digital learning, it will be critical to ensure that the network infrastructure and security keep pace with this growth. By leaning into managed services and utilizing federal funding, K-12 technology departments can maximize the resources at their disposal to support vital network security while also focusing on other strategic priorities that will deliver an excellent learning experience.
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