According to Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), cybersecurity and student data privacy are ranked as the top two priorities for school district IT leaders. Yet, district IT leaders generally underestimate the threats to K-12 networks. The vast majority (84 percent) don’t rate any cybersecurity threat as a high risk — and just 41 percent of districts have a cybersecurity plan.
Lean budgets, aging network infrastructure and the growing sophistication of cybercriminals have driven up the number of attacks year over year. Data security incidents in K-12 schools increased by 18 percent in 2020.
The ongoing digital collection and aggregation of student and staff data is extremely attractive to cybercriminals. Consider these statistics:
- 1,164 cyberattacks have occurred in K-12 districts in the last five years.
- 24.5 million student records have been compromised in cyberattacks since 2005.
- 60 percent of worldwide cyberattacks target educational institutions.
To change their risk profile, K-12 schools and districts need to adopt new network security practices.