NCESD Rolls Out Initiative to Support School Districts with Cybersecurity Best Practices

Published On: February 26th, 2024|Categories: News|
NCESD Rolls Out Initiative to Support School Districts with Cybersecurity Best Practices

In an era where digital threats are constantly evolving, the North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) is excited to announce a pivotal initiative aimed to strengthen the cybersecurity efforts of the school districts in the region. Recognizing the complexity and daunting nature of cybersecurity, the NCESD Network Services team has distilled their recommendations into a concise “Top 10” cybersecurity best practices list specifically for school districts. This initiative is not just about implementing advanced security measures; it’s about fostering a culture of awareness and responsibility across all levels of the educational community.

The Misconception of an Organization’s Cybersecurity Efforts

A common misconception afflicting organizations, including schools, is the belief that cybersecurity falls solely within the realm of the IT department. This perspective is not only limiting but dangerous, as it overlooks the fundamental fact that cybersecurity is a collective responsibility. The reality we face is that any user within a network, regardless of their role or position, has the potential to unknowingly become a conduit for cyber threats.

Why a “Top 10” for Best Practices?

The decision to focus on a list of ten best practices stems from a desire to present this critical information in a manageable, non-intimidating format. Through consultations and assessments, the NCESD Network Services team has observed that while schools implement various security measures, they sometimes struggle to implement some of the most basic precautions. The Top 10 list focuses on bridging gaps in the collective defense against cyber threats.

“Our goal is not to overwhelm but to empower,” said Kevin Knoll, the managing director of the NCESD Network Services team. “By starting with these foundational measures, we can collectively build a more secure and resilient digital environment for our students, staff, and communities.”

Districts are encouraged to use the Top 10 list as a starting point for a deeper, ongoing conversation about digital safety and responsibility. It is through collective action and shared responsibility that school districts can significantly mitigate the risks that threaten today’s digital landscape. From administrators to educators, and even students, everyone within the school system are gatekeepers of the digital domain. It is crucial that everyone play an active role in safeguarding data, credentials, and access to devices.

Top 10 Cybersecurity Recommendations for School Districts

  • Secure, offsite backup solution
  • Two-factor authentication for email systems
  • Password complexity and history
  • Conditional access policy for regional email account login
  • System drive and data accessible only to authenticated users
  • Restrict vendor access to a VPN
  • Separate wifi network for personal devices
  • Computer patch management and enterprise grade antivirus
  • Maintain software inventory and remove outdated software
  • Implement email phishing and security awareness training for staff

Are you interested in learning more about these recommendations?

Contact the NCESD Network Services team to learn more about how school districts can maintain health cybersecurity practices throughout the school system. 

Kevin Knoll, Managing Director of Network Services
Email: | Phone: 509-667-7114

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