It’s not exactly a secret that most educational institutions are vulnerable to data breaches and security hacks. All it takes is one attack to freeze school operations and disrupt learning, to say nothing of putting sensitive data and private information at risk.
Being proactive is better than being reactive, and one of the biggest proactive steps districts are taking today involves targeting endpoint security and beefing up endpoint resilience.
Endpoint security, essentially, involves protecting the endpoints, or the devices and tools, connected to school and district networks. As BYOD and mobile initiatives expand, endpoints multiply, underscoring the importance of this security strategy. Endpoint resilience combines protection and response in a way that allows a district to recover quickly from an attack.
K-12 schools, in particular, face challenges when it comes to enabling endpoint security measures, including a lack of professional development and knowledge of safety and security measures, lack of funding, and a need for updated infrastructure.
Here’s how 3 districts navigated those challenges and hurdles to address endpoint security head-on and take control of their networks.
1. When the semi-rural district of Bloombsburg, PA suffered a ransomware attack, its four-person IT team had its plate full for more than two days trying to return operations to normal. A teacher accidentally downloaded a file containing ransomware, and “by the time we identified it, the teacher’s machine was
compromised and so were network files that she had accessed. It took us at least 16 hours to get back to a situation where shared files were safe to use again. We decided we needed more protection,” said Gary Honabach, the district’s technology systems administrator.
To that end, the district deployed Malwarebytes Endpoint Security for its teachers, staff, and high school endpoints. The district has had no more issues, and Honabach said the IT team breathes a sigh of relief knowing potential ransomware or malware will be quarantined.
2. Virginia’s Campbell County Public Schools replaced its previous antivirus after updates led the district’s IT team through laborious installations and consistent issues and conflicts. Moving to an endpoint security solution simplified the IT team’s tasks, saving hours oftime and reducing travel costs related to taking multiple trips across the district to fix issues.
Because a newer 21st-century solution is installed, educators don’t wrestle with multiple issues like they did in the past, meaning learning isn’t interrupted. New data and dashboard information also gives the IT team roadmap for decision-making.
3. IT leaders in the San José Unified School District started seeing an increase in malware infections on the MacBook laptops teachers used in school and at home. In fact, as the team was scanning Macs for almost every teacher who requested tech support, IT team members found that a large number of the systems contained malware.
“Teachers often have student data, parent contact information, email addresses, and other data that must be kept private,” said Patrick Scanlan, the district’s supervisor of technology and data services. “They didn’t realize they had malware on their systems or that downloads to their systems could be trying to trick them into divulging sensitive information.”
The district deployed an incident response solution that scans and protects endpoints, automatically identifying and removing large amounts of malware from teachers’ systems.
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