Don’t let your school become the next victim of a costly cyberattack.

You’ve probably heard about hackers attacking businesses, but they also infiltrate schools. A recent NBC News story discussed a series of cyberattacks in Columbia Falls, Montana where a wide array of personal data was stolen including phone numbers and social security numbers. Once the data was stolen the hackers threatened to release the data if a ransom was not paid. This tactic is referred to in the industry as ransomware and is becoming more prevalent in both businesses and schools around the country.

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This Columbia Falls, Montana story is just one example where a school has been affected by a cyberattack. As school administrators, it’s critical that you put a variety of cybersecurity mechanisms in place to prevent these types of attacks from happening.

How to prevent cyberattacks from happening in your school

Below are just a few of the ways that schools can help to prevent cyberattacks from happening.

Provide proper cybersecurity training

Training is critical to ensure your team members are aware of the constantly changing threats that exist daily. This type of training can’t just be done once and then forgotten about. There needs to be an ongoing effort to ensure that your employees are aware of any new cyber threats.

There are many ways that you can implement cybersecurity training. One of the most effective methods is to use tools that test how well your employees can recognize the suspicious content. Think about having tools that could simulate a phishing email to see how many of your employees click on a fraudulent link. This type of real-world testing helps train your employees without the threat of real danger.

Ensure your wireless networks are properly secured

Many schools and companies will simply set up one wireless network and give out the password to trusted individuals. The trouble with this approach is that very often the password can find its way into the hands of less trustworthy individuals. If you only have one wireless network, anyone that connects to your network will have access to any data that resides on the network.

The proper way to set up a wireless network is to create two networks, one that is to be accessible by staff members at the school and another for guests. The guest network would not have access to critical data that could cause problems if it ended up in the wrong hands.

Avoid the use of unprotected cloud-based file systems

How are you handling the sharing of files within your school? If you’re not using enterprise-level cloud tools like Office 365, your employees are likely utilizing cloud-based file systems of their own. In fact, they’re probably using free versions of either Dropbox or Google Drive, which don’t offer the same level of protection when compared to Office 365.

It’s important to simplify the tools and processes that are available to your educators, so they won’t resort to other options that could put your school at risk for a variety of cyberattacks.

Interested in learning more about how to protect your school from cyberattacks?

If you and your IT team don’t feel confident that your school is properly protected from cyberattacks, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at MessageOps today. We can help you identify holes in your cybersecurity protection and ensure you’re doing all you can to protect your employees, students, and infrastructure from a costly cyberattack.

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