Education management and payments face a ransomware learning curve

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With secure network access solutions and education programs in place, schools can avoid falling victim to a major security mishap that can interrupt education.

Baltimore County Public Schools recently experienced a ransomware attack that infected its systems and forced it to shut down most of its networks. As a result, the school district's offices, email system, grading system and website were all impacted.

Unfortunately, this incident is just one example of the countless number of ransomware attacks we have seen this year as threat actors find new ways to leverage pandemic conditions to strike more frequently. As remote and hybrid learning continues, schools and their payment and management systems will remain lucrative targets. Thus, it is imperative that the education industry as a whole considers more progressive security controls to protect institutions, parents and students.

The shift to remote operations this year left companies across countless industries vulnerable to attack. In fact, 40% of organizations saw a significant increase in endpoint and IoT security incidents in the last 12 months.

Heading into 2021, education institutions and their transaction systems must prioritize the safety of their students and staff. Organizations must first ensure they are providing the proper cybersecurity awareness training to all staff and students to help decrease their chances of falling victim to easily avoidable threats, such as phishing.

Then, to mitigate threats and avoid unauthorized system access, these institutions must remain vigilant on security posture assessment and should consider more progressive security controls such as Zero Trust access policies, which includes safeguards such as multifactor authentication and encrypted communications.

The Zero Trust principle dictates that no connectivity is allowed until a user is authenticated, their endpoint is validated and application access is verified for that individual, stopping cybercriminals from gaining access.

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