Compliance is incredibly important for any School District. A failure to remain compliant can spell doom for any district, regardless of size. Being compliant is the act of following certain established rules, regulations, laws and guidelines. But what many district administrators don’t realize is that compliance and security go hand in hand. Compliance is in place to prevent security breaches and give guidelines for what to do if a breach does occur.
Your district won’t become compliant on its own, though. It often takes plenty of time, effort and money to ensure that your district stays compliant, especially given how rapidly technology advances. Twenty-five years ago, you wouldn’t have had to worry about many of the issues that plague district administrators these days because the Internet was nowhere near as developed as it is now.
But times have changed, and your distrcit has to change with it or you will fall victim to cyber-attacks. Before you spend time and money trying to figure out if your district is compliant or not, you should ask yourself
- Does my business have antivirus software and is my network protected by a firewall?
- What data is my business encrypting?
- Do I have a system in place to manage network-connected devices?
- Are there disaster recovery plans in place, and do I use backup solutions?
- Is there a business continuity strategy?
- Do I have employee training in regard to security?
After you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done to ensure your district stays compliant. You may be thinking you need to rush out and buy the necessary technology and equipment to fill any holes, but you should focus on your team more than anything else.
According to a study by IBM, 95% of cyber security breaches stem from human error. We’ve talked at length about the importance of training your employees to be cyber-secure, but the reality is that employees who have not bought into a cyber-secure culture are putting your district at risk. You must have some type of employee training in place so they can learn all they can about cyber security and keeping your district protected. Without proper training, you cannot expect your employees to be inherently cyber-secure.
After you’ve fully trained your employees, you can put more focus into bringing in the proper technology and equipment to plug any lapses in your compliance plan. If you don’t have antivirus software or firewalls, you should invest in them before anything else. Once those are in place, you can focus on a few specific pieces of technology to make your district more compliant.
One of the best investments you can make is to put an e-mail spam filter in place. Though your employees will be trained and hopefully well-versed in cyber security, mistakes can still happen. E-mail-based phishing attacks are one of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to gain access to your district’s valuable information. All it takes is one click on the wrong link to compromise the entire network. With a filter, you won’t have to worry about your employees accidentally clicking on a sketchy e-mail because it will never make it to their mailbox in the first place.
Additionally, you should also introduce strong security password practices as well as multifactor authentication. Part of your training for your employees should include tips and strategies for creating strong passwords. Oftentimes, people will use the same passwords for every account, which can leave your district vulnerable if one of their other accounts is compromised. Multifactor authentication takes this step to the next level since your employees will also receive a text message authorizing their login into their e-mail or other accounts. It’s a simple way to ensure your bases are covered.
Staying compliant is an extremely important part of your district. It helps protect you and everyone who works for, or does business with, your district. However, it takes time to put these practices into place. If you feel like you don’t have time to get your cyber security measures in place or if you simply need more information about managed services providers, give us a call. We would be glad to help you with your cyber security or compliance needs.