According to a June 2022 study, ransomware attacks affected nearly one million students in 2021 alone, costing schools over $3 billion in downtime. Many institutions that were hit spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore devices, recover data and improve their systems to prevent future attacks.
While it's impossible to avoid cyberattacks completely, schools can make wise investments to protect their infrastructure and valuable student data. These solutions can be costly, but grants and other funding options allow cash-strapped schools to improve their security posture.
How to Secure and Use Funding to Improve Your Security Posture
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) leads the national effort to understand, manage, and reduce cyber and physical infrastructure risks. Through CISA, schools can apply for funding through SAFECOM grants that can be used to invest in tools to develop and maintain cybersecurity risk management.
Many school leaders are already aware of funding for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS). Still, they may not realize that this money can be used for cybersecurity measures.
Cybersecurity solutions, such as antivirus tools and data recovery software, are a great starting point for schools looking to protect their technology and data from cybercriminals. However, these solutions alone may not be enough to close security gaps.
Investing in professional and managed services is crucial to building resiliency against cyberattacks. Here are some recommendations:
- Security Posture Assessment and Advisory: A self-evaluation of your organization's tools, processes and people against major security areas, with personalized consultation for actionable insights.
- Penetration Testing: A simulated cyberattack performed by an ethical hacker to provide deep insights into vulnerabilities.
- Cyber Hygiene Fundamentals Workshop: A 60-90 minute session to define best practices and learn how to protect assets, students and staff from threats.
- 24 x 7 x 365 Human-Led Monitoring, Detection and Response: A team of incident response (IR) analysts is available to take action on your behalf against any attacks.
- Remediation Services: A real-time response to cyberattacks, providing identification of the cause, stopping attacks in progress, securing data and helping your organization implement changes to strengthen your cybersecurity posture.
- Vulnerability and Web Application Scanning: A service to inspect infrastructure for potential security risks with recommendations to protect against future threats.
- As-a-Service Programs: Additional support, including ongoing data backup, monitoring and patching, and a virtual help desk.
Bluum's Funding Advisory team can support you in applying for and using funding to invest in cybersecurity solutions and services at no cost. Our premium cyber readiness bundle is a simple, easy-to-use solution that can be purchased using SAFECOM grant funding. We also offer consultation, research, strategic planning and support to help you find tools to protect your network, devices and data from cyber threats.