As school districts have adopted distance learning during the pandemic, another threat has become more severe. According to a December alert from the FBI, nearly 60% of reported ransomware incidents between August and September 2020 involved K-12 schools, a 29% jump from the previous months.
Following this report, IBM announced in-kind grants valued at $3 million to help strengthen cybersecurity in schools. The grants will be awarded to six school districts in the United States to sponsor IBM staff, who will help the schools proactively prepare for and respond to cyberattacks. School districts can apply online between February 4 and March 1, 2021 and recipients will be announced shortly after.
School districts will be selected to receive the grant based on their level of cybersecurity needs and how they meet the criteria outlined by IBM.
According to the FAQ on the IBM Education Security Preparedness Grant web page: “After an initial evaluation, each school district will receive help in areas that appear to be the weakest. These areas could be updating systems, implementing strategic communications plans, identifying local resources and escalation paths, clarifying legal options, mapping out basic training for staff, students and parents, developing incident response plans and more.”
Contact Weaver for information about protecting your district’s data from cybercrime, tips for protecting your data against ransomware, or cybersecurity questions board members should be asking management. Our IT Advisory Services team supports school districts and other clients on cybersecurity issues.