Ultimately, for IT decision-makers, one cost effective way to prevent cyber security attacks on schools is through training and awareness about cyber security. All students and faculty should be brought up to speed on the risks of being targeted by malicious actors and taught ways to spot potential security threats online and in email.
One strategy to consider is using test emails to mimic a phishing attack. A school or university can gauge how well its security message is getting across and train staff on what to look for to decrease the chances of being tricked a second time.
Policies surrounding education cyber security should be clearly communicated and easy to understand. Moreover, employees and students need to know why these policies are important. Encourage your IT and security teams to remain transparent and open to questions. But risk readiness is about more than training: Technology is equally important.
One way to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access or phishing is by using two-factor or multifactor authentication (MFA). You may not require MFA for every type of login, but MFA should be used whenever possible, especially for accessing confidential data and resources. If a hacker needs to take an additional step to access your systems, they may just move on to the next target.
As an additional precaution, schools should create controls and logging mechanisms that trigger an alert for suspicious activity. For any schools lacking dedicated security resources, a managed security service provider can play a critical role in enhancing the overall security posture of the institution.
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