Enhancing School District Cybersecurity

September 06, 2021 by Lily Rexing

Enhancing School District Cybersecurity

The FBI recently issued a warning that school districts are high priority targets for cybercriminals. The perception of minimal security and reality of low staffing levels both lead to increased security concerns. Understanding this heightened risk, Richland County School District One in Columbia, South Carolina, sought to add another layer of defense.

“We had cybersecurity solutions already in place, but there’s no solution that is 100% effective when it comes to cybercriminals,” Mark Leslie, coordinator of network operations, noted. “It’s best to have a layered approach to make your environment as safe as possible.”

To monitor the district’s network activity 24/7, Leslie’s team added a managed threat detection service. With constant monitoring, the district is alerted in real time should the detection team find any suspicious or malicious network activity.

Managed threat detection proved valuable when the service identified potentially malicious activity on one of the district’s endpoints. The dangerous malware involved could track every keystroke entered on the infected device’s keyboard, including passwords and usernames. With early detection and a real-time alert, the district was able to quickly respond and mitigate the risk.

In addition to keeping district data and systems safe, the threat detection service helps Richland County meet state and federal mandates for student data privacy. For proactively improving both security and compliance, the district won a 2020 Tyler Excellence Award.

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