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CoSN Releases New Resources on Cybersecurity Mitigation

Historically, school and district information technology units have positions designed to enable and support devices and connectivity, but not cybersecurity. Cybersecurity represents a comprehensive challenge facing all staff in K-12 organizations and requires the creation of a culture of cybersecurity within each K-12 organization.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released two new resources for K-12 schools and districts seeking to address the need for advanced cybersecurity skill sets within their technology teams.

Making the Case for Increased Investment in Cybersecurity: A Primer for K12 School Districts Just Getting Started with Cybersecurity identifies five actions school system IT staff might take now or in the near future to better defend IT infrastructure, and addresses why it’s more important than ever to protect students and teachers from cyberattacks.

This report addresses these risks towards K-12 schools as well as effective strategies to protect against them, especially for those just getting started. According to the report, school system IT staff can better defend IT infrastructure by:

  1. Training IT staff and end users
  2. Adding technical expertise to your IT team
  3. Securing the network
  4. Creating a sustainable plan to replace equipment at regular intervals
  5. Creating an environment of certainty for the IT function with leadership buy-in and reliable funding

Login to download the free report. Nonmembers can set up a complimentary account and download the report. 

 The Cybersecurity Positions Project paper,  commissioned by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) as part of the work of its Cybersecurity & Privacy Collaborative and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, identifies and addresses several strategies for staffing cybersecurity within school systems.

Only a fifth (21%) of districts have a full-time equivalent employee dedicated to network security. The Cybersecurity Positions Project paper identifies and addresses several strategies for staffing cybersecurity within school systems.

“Cybersecurity is the top concern of district IT leaders. Yet, when we ask if districts have the human capacity to address cybersecurity, they clearly do not. This important publication helps school system leaders think in new ways and outlines concrete strategies to address this crisis of securing our networking and protecting student and employee data,” said Keith R. Krueger, CEO of CoSN.

 “This is the most comprehensive look at K-12 cybersecurity staffing to-date. This report provides thoughtful guidance for districts of all sizes and represents the reality that schools need dedicated cybersecurity expertise and broader responsibility for secure practices,” said Jason Bailey, Director of Innovation and Design, SETDA.

K-12 schools and districts seeking to address the need for advanced cybersecurity skill sets within their technology teams require a shift in staffing across the technology units that support networks, data and systems in K-12 institutions. Covered in this paper, the strategies to achieve this include:

  • Developing focused cybersecurity positions;
  • Incorporating cybersecurity duties and responsibilities in all existing K-12 technology positions, leveraging cross-district collaboration and/or managed services to augment cybersecurity staffing; and
  • Expanding the expectation that cybersecurity is a responsibility of all members of the K-12 education community, just as physical security and safety are considered organization-wide responsibilities.

Download the full Cybersecurity Positions Project paper. For additional cybersecurity resources, visit cosn.org/edtech-topics/cybersecurity/ or setda.info/collection-cybersecurity.

CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community best practices, and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education. Visit cosn.org.

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