New report reveals K-12 cloud security gaps. Here’s how automation can help your district
New search for EdWeek Research Center and commissioned by ManagedMethods, identifies gaps in school district cloud security. These gaps make data on students, staff and finances vulnerable.
A new survey analysis report, What you don’t know can hurt you, found that over 94% of K-12 schools use cloud applications, such as Google workspace and Microsoft 365. 56% of these respondents say they believe their cloud environments are private and secure. Yet 50% of tech decision makers and influencers don’t have a cloud security platform or know if there is one.
The survey also revealed some misconceptions about what is cloud security and why schools need cloud-specific security measures to protect their data.
Beyond misconceptions about cloud security, district technology teams face a lack of resources to manage and remediate data security (and student security) risks in their cloud applications.
And that’s where cloud security automation comes in.
Cloud security automation takes the strain off IT teams by automating the mundane. Automated tools will continuously scan your district’s cloud applications for potential issues, alert your system administrators to those issues, and then resolve the issue based on a set of defined policies.
For example, let’s say a phishing email goes through your existing phishing filters (yes, it happensâ¦ often). Your current phishing filters are probably on the perimeter, which means that once that email (or emails) breaks through, those filters are useless. The email is in your inboxes.
If you have implemented cloud security automation, it will constantly scan your cloud-based emails, like Gmail and Outlook, and find those phishing emails in your users’ inboxes. It can then quickly perform several actions, depending on how it was configured, such as sending the email to a quarantine folder or removing it from all email accounts.
Organizations, especially K-12 districts, do not have the budget to perform the analysis and correction manually. Even if you had a spare group of employees, a human cannot do what automation can do when analyzing data files 24/7/365.
Understand the risks and security of the cloud
If you use collaborative cloud environments, and virtually every district does, you need defined policies, controls, and technologies to govern the information exchange that takes place within them. This is the definition of cloud application security.
Unfortunately, cloud cybersecurity is still neglected by neighborhood leaders. One of the most harmful cloud security myths is that cloud providers offer comprehensive cybersecurity. However, the shared responsibility models that web hosts like Google and Microsoft use dictate that you, their customer, are responsible for securing access to your data stored in their app services.
Without a cloud security layer in your cybersecurity infrastructure, you leave your information vulnerable to:
- Data breaches: Employees and students cause data breaches accidentally and sometimes intentionally. Cybercriminals cause intentional data breaches.
- Account reversals: Cyber ââcriminals who take control of valid user accounts and gain access to sensitive data can wreak havoc in your district.
- Loss of computing power: Ransomware attacks can take a district hostage without access to their systems. Over the past year, we have seen many examples of schools needing to cancel classes and spend inordinate amounts of time and money to regain access to their computing power.
- Unsecured SaaS Applications: Use of third parties edtech applications is growing at an alarming rate in K-12. Unfortunately, if the third-party app isn’t secure or malicious by design, it can become an easy gateway to your district’s systems and data.
6 Reasons Your IT Team Needs Cloud Security Automation
Given the level of risk and the consequences that these cloud security breaches can cause, there are plenty of reasons your IT team needs cloud security automation. Here are the first six.
1. IT teams wear many hats and cybersecurity tends to take a back seat
District budgets are tight and the labor market makes it difficult to find qualified employees. In addition, most districts do not have a dedicated cybersecurity specialist, so responsibility is shared within the team.
But we all know cybersecurity is one of those âinvisibleâ problems (at least, until it’s no longer invisible because you are the victim of an attack). For this reason, it’s easier to put cybersecurity on the back burner when you have multiple âvisibleâ fires to fight.
Plus, when you’re busy fixing a failed network or replacing parts in that broken Chromebook stack, it becomes virtually impossible to respond to an active incident quickly enough to tell the difference between a thwarted cyberattack and a success.
2. So many users, applications, endpoints. . . so little time!
Districts were already migrating to the cloud before COVID-19. However, the pandemic has dramatically increased this movement, as well as the number of cloud applications used, endpoints accessing your data, and users who needed to be trained, managed and supported.
On top of all that, your IT teams had to learn new things and navigate a changing world while tackling everything else on the list. It is physically impossible to keep up with all of this without automated assistance.
3. Minimize human error
Gartner estimates that up to 95% of cloud breaches are the result of human error. Automation can help mitigate the human error element of cloud security. Automation doesn’t make mistakes because it’s pulled in a dozen different directions or because it spent all night with a sick child and now operates on three hours of sleep.
Once it’s set up properly, all automation needs to do is research the risks and follow the rules it’s been told to follow. So, automation plays a crucial role, whether it’s preventing human errors within the IT team or reacting quickly to someone else’s mistake who is about to fail. cause a data breach.
Of course, we all know that automation is not 100% foolproof by itself. It should be properly configured and audited regularly enough to ensure that it is performing as expected. But, it can definitely help in reducing the number of errors in the system.
4. You need 24/7/365 security
Cloud Security Automation performs the tasks it was created and configured for all day, every day. It does not take off at night, on weekends or on holidays. This is precisely the time when cybercriminals love to target schools, for that matter!
You know you don’t have the budget for a cybersecurity specialist. Consider trying to get approval from two or three specialists to cover the times when you are most at risk.
5. Cloud security automation is an important part of zero trust security and defense in depth
Zero trust security is modern cybersecurity for modern school districts. The sooner your IT team moves away from over-reliance on firewalls, proxies, and on-premises LDAP authentication, the sooner you’ll be prepared to deal with the cyber threats posed by cloud applications.
Cloud applications like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, and a host of other cloud apps are always active and available from every device and location. They are a huge boon to schools. However, they also require IT teams to evolve and adopt new ways of approaching K-12 cybersecurity threats.
Zero trust and defense in depth strategies focus on securing your data, not just at the perimeter of your network. This secures data against network access, even if the access seems legitimate to the perimeter.
You can fill in the gaps in your cybersecurity technology stack, which should start at the perimeter but not end there. And the more automation you can apply across your stack, the more secure your data will be. Include the following:
- Perimeter and network security
- Access security
- Prevent data loss
- Account behavior detection
6. You can integrate cloud security automation technology into student security measures
Yeah, that’s right. The technology for monitoring items such as data loss prevention, phishing links, and account takeovers is similar to the technology for monitoring items such as Internet harassment, the students plotting school violence, written on to harm one’s selfs, and sharing explicit images.
Some cloud security solutions (clue, clue) can even detect student safety signals in district cloud apps and send an alert with relevant information to the right person to handle the incident.
Wondering if you should implement cloud security automation? If so, take advantage of our 30 days free cloud content and behavior security audit offer. You will get first-hand experience with an audit that will identify where you have gaps in your cloud security. Just be prepared to be stunned by what you discover.
The post office 6 Reasons School Districts Need Cloud Security Automation appeared first on Managed methods.
*** This is a Syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog by Managed methods written by Alexa Sander. Read the original post on: https://managedmethods.com/blog/6-reasons-school-districts-need-cloud-security-automation/