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10 Ways to Protect Your Charter School from a Cyber Attack

As your charter school becomes increasingly reliant on technology to handle all aspects of your school’s operation, cyber security and data protection becomes more of a priority.

Last year, The K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center released a report on cyber incidents that affected the U.S. public elementary and secondary (K-12) schools during 2018. The report indicates that a U.S. school district becomes victim of a cyber attack almost as often as every three days.

In fact, it was identified that in January 2019, there had been at least a dozen cyber attacks on K-12 school systems.

Levin, the President of EdTech Strategies, identified that public K-12 school districts experienced 122 known cyber security incidents in 2018, ranging from data breaches, phishing scams and ransomware attacks.

He indicated that of those 122 cyber attacks, all but seven affected traditional school districts and charter schools.

All of this to say, cyber attacks for schools are happening at a rapid rate, and have no signs of slowing down any time soon.

That’s why it’s more important than ever before to ensure your student’s personally identifiable information is secure and protected – and that your school has the right protection in place if, in fact, your school were to fall victim to a cyber attack.

10 Ways to Protect Your Charter School From a Cyber Attack

Not every school has the resources to bring an outside expert in to test your computer systems and make security recommendations.

Here’s ten, simple, economical steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling victim to a cyber attack:

  1. Train your teachers and administrators on cyber security principles.

  2. Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your school.

  3. Use a firewall for your internet connection.

  4. Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.

  5. Make backup copies of important school data and information.

  6. Control physical access to your school’s computers and network components.

  7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your school, make sure it’s secure and hidden.

  8. Require individual user accounts for each teacher and staff member.

  9. Limit teacher/staff access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.

  10. Regularly change passwords.

In addition to the listed tips, check out our FREE Cyber Security Planning Guide. This guide is designed to help you protect your school’s data from cyber threats.

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Cyber Insurance for Charter Schools

While you may have all the best practices in place to help prevent your school from a cyber attack, incidents happen.

It’s for this reason that your charter school should have a stand-alone cyber insurance policy.

A typical cyber insurance policy offers your school the following key coverages:

  • Data Breach Coverage

  • Business Interruption Loss Reimbursement

  • Cyber Extortion Defense

  • Forensic and Legal Support

  • Coverage Beyond Your General Liability Charter School Insurance Policy

Next Step

I’d love to discuss cyber security practices and cyber insurance for your charter school – to ensure you have the right protection in place for your students, families, staff and organization.

I’m Tom Van Auker, a Certified School Risk Advisor at O’Neill Insurance, an insurance and risk management firm in Northeast Ohio. Call me at (330) 331-7952 or email me at tvanauker@oneillinsurance.com.

Or, if you’re ready to get a cyber insurance quote, click below to fill out a brief, 4-question survey and we’ll have a cyber insurance quote turned around for you within 24-48 hours.

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*Statistical information is adopted from K-12 Cybersecurity 2018 Year in Review.

*Components of this article were adapted from Zywave. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.