Zero Trust Cybersecurity for K-12 School Districts

Zero trust in cybersecurity is never trust, always check the approach that K-12areas need now more than ever.

For years, school districts have relied on cyber security measures such as firewalls and web content filters to protect their systems from cyber attacks. Today, the cyber security perimeter is dead. That was before COVID-19 sent the school districts to teach in remote areas, and it was certainly after that.

Today, the provinces have to put their credibility at zero. With zero confidence in cybersecurity, your systems don’t trust anyone by default, either inside or outside your network. Anyone who has access to your systems from anywhere should be monitored for access to your data, and their behaviour should be monitored while using your data and applications.

Why Zero Trust Cybersecurity?

Zero Trust Cyber Security focuses on protecting your data, not just the perimeter. This approach provides more effective protection for your school district’s data, regardless of the network or device used by the student, teacher or school employee. This approach is particularly important in areas where there is distance or hybrid education. In such environments, you don’t know if the networks used by your users are secure.

Another benefit of trusted cybersecurity is that your data is safe, no matter what device your end users are on. Perhaps you are in one of the regions that have managed to reach the 1:1 ratio for the school year 2020/21. However, you may not know if everyone who has access to Google Workspace and/or Microsoft 365 applications in your district is using school-approved devices. Often a student leaves the device at school and then connects to the home computer to do homework.

On the other hand, if you have your chrome books on your backcorder in a 1:1 ratio, or if you don’t have a 1:1 budget, or if your county has decided to use BYOD versus 1:1 and your county uses BYOD, you cannot leave your county’s cyber security to chance.


3 Zero Trust Benefits of Cyber Security for school districts

In addition to improved overall data security, zero-trust cyber security has three major advantages. It protects you from users on any network, provides a higher level of cyber security and helps you prepare for emergencies.

1. Zero Trust Protects data from network access.

In many regions there are problems with internet access. In these areas, users depend on public networks for homework, classroom participation, teaching and assessment tasks. Perimeter security, such as firewalls and content filtering, doesn’t protect your neighborhood data from attackers using public network access.

It is also known that home networks are dangerous because many people are not aware of the risk of not being able to update the firmware or change their passwords to access the Internet.

2. Zero trust means more layers of cyber security

Cyber security has been installed in school districts affected by ransom attacks. The problem is that criminals can and may pass through the security zone. Zero-trust cybersecurity mechanisms contain a layered technology stack of cybersecurity.

This allows you to protect the perimeter, but more importantly, it allows you to monitor abnormal behaviour in your information systems. When your system detects a user with abnormal behavior, you can check what that specific user can achieve and what he or she does.


3. Zero Trust prepares your province for emergencies

Nobody got out of COWID-19 unharmed. The schools closed, then they reopened, and then some of them closed again. However, neighbourhoods that have a zero tolerance cyber security strategy, or at least have made significant progress in implementing this strategy, are generally better able to ensure data security and student privacy.

In emergency situations, zero-trust cyber security is the only way to make sure you are prepared. As in the case of COVID-19, areas applying the zero-confidence strategy had less to worry about access from public and/or unsecured networks. They were also not afraid that students and staff would return to school with malware that was hibernating, but were now ready to attack the school’s networks.

Zero Trust gave them the security, visibility and control they needed, no matter where users logged in or what device they were using.

3 Zero-Trust Cyber Security and Locking Your Data

Data is perhaps the most valuable resource in the world today. Criminals try to get information about students, teachers, employees and business people in your area.

In the Middle Ages the castle had a moat and walls. But within the walls there were also knights and mercenaries who were there in case the wall was broken through. Think of Zero Trust as a modern castle that uses all available defensive and reaction tactics.

Cybersecurity with zero confidence is in-depth protection. Zero Trust encourages you to explore the different levels of your information systems. Never trust, always test the approach that K-12 cybersecurity needs more than ever.

Are you ready to start developing or improving your district’s Zero Credibility Strategy? If so, you will want to attend our How to use NIST Cybersecurity Framework in K-12 webinar. Neil Richardson, Director of Technology for Hillsboro-Dearing School District, will explain how he and his team implemented Zero-Trust Cyber Security using the NIST Cyber Security Framework.

Cybersecurity for School District K-12 after zero trust first appeared on ManagedMethods.

*** This is Kathy Fritchen’s blogger network on blog security, syndicated by ManagedMethods. The original message can be found at

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