Cyber-Risks and Prevention for School Districts

K-12 education is vulnerable to data breaches because of overstretched IT resources; reliance on free software; staff taking data home; and rogue employees or students motivated to hack or steal.

The New Jersey Schools Insurance Group (NJSIG) has partnered with Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services to provide our members with superior cyber coverage.

BBR Services sees incidents like these often:

  • Ransomware infecting school servers and student devices, and shutting down systems
  • High school students hacking and accessing SSNs of fellow students
  • Successful W-2 phishing requiring notification of affected teachers, staff, the IRS and state tax boards

Preventing a Breach How can schools safeguard information? They can require strong passwords, turn on two-factor authentication for remote access, train employees on phishing, segment networks and harden web servers, store backups offsite and off-network, and test them regularly.

You should prepare for potential breaches as follows:

  • Identify your response team.
  • Develop an incident response plan to provide the team with a playbook.
  • Designate one team member as liaison with your board in case of a cyber event.
  • Test your response with tabletop exercises.
  • Communicate with your board regularly on steps your team is taking to protect data security.

Responding to a Breach What if a suspected breach does occur? BBR Services assists NJSIG members with retaining legal counsel and computer forensics to investigate and determine whether they must notify affected individuals and, if so, with the notification and call center services to manage notifications.  NJSIG provides coverage for the associated costs of the BBR team.

NJSIG has spent the last 35 years focusing on school safety and keeping dollars in New Jersey classrooms.  Cyberattacks are preventable if you have the right protocols in place. In the event of a breach, NJSIG has the tools to assist you.  To learn more about NJSIG and our program, visit the website.

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