Fortifying K-12 Schools’ Data Security with Immutable Cloud Backups

At first glance, it might be hard to imagine why cyber attackers would target K-12 schools. The reality is that schools are often easy to breach and offer high rewards. They hold a wealth of information, from student grades to staff and parent records, as well as school safety evacuation plans. And if they don’t have solid security in place, cybercriminals could easily access that data goldmine. 

On top of that, schools have to follow strict rules about keeping student information safe. They have to check on privacy regularly, make sure they comply with regulations and data protection legislation, get permission from parents before collecting data, and make sure only the right people can see certain websites.

That’s why more and more schools are turning to cloud solutions for cloud storage, immutable cloud backups, and cybersecurity tools to keep their data safe. Let’s look at how immutable cloud backups can help with this. 

The Rising Tide of Cyberattacks on K-12 Schools

Over the past decade or so, K-12 schools started embracing digital technologies. Especially during the pandemic when schools increasingly used cloud-based platforms to enhance learning experiences as everything shifted to remote. That said, this rapid digital adoption has also exposed schools to an escalating wave of cyber threats and breaches.

Since the start of the year, many schools have reported data breaches and ransomware attacks. The City of New Haven lost more than $6 million after multiple cyberattacks were carried out on its public schools. Another school district confirmed that it took them almost a month to restore their systems after falling victim to a ransomware attack. 

These incidents show just how important it is for K-12 schools to make sure they’re keeping everyone’s information safe and private. The consequences of a data breach can be severe, ranging from financial loss to damage to a school’s reputation. 

The Role of Cloud Backup in Cybersecurity

While there are a number of ways to defend against cyberattacks and keep your data safe, an effective backup solution should not be overlooked. One of the most effective solutions for schools is cloud-based backup. It plays a significant role in cybersecurity by providing a secure, fast, and accessible means to store and recover data. It beats traditional methods for a number of reasons:
  • Accessibility: Data can be recovered swiftly and accessed from anywhere, which is particularly useful when the primary site is down or inaccessible. Or if your data has been compromised due to, e.g. a ransomware attack. 
  • Security: Cloud backup providers offer various security features, such as end-to-end encryption, to protect data from unauthorized access.
  • Scalability: Cloud storage is essentially unlimited, allowing schools to easily add backup capacity as needed.
  • Disaster recovery: Cloud backup can serve as a simple disaster recovery solution, particularly for businesses that couldn’t previously afford it.
  • Compliance: Cloud backups can help with compliance by ensuring that organizations adhere to various regulations, such as ISO 27001, SOC2, and others, which require the implementation of reliable methods to secure sensitive data.
  • Cyber insurance: Having cloud backup in place can help you get cyber insurance by demonstrating that you have taken appropriate measures to protect your data. Many cyber insurance providers require proof of backup implementation to qualify for coverage, and they may also require additional capabilities such as malware scanning, encryption, segmentation, and multi-factor authentication.

However, it’s essential to choose a reputable cloud-based backup service with strong security measures, such as encryption and access controls, to ensure the safety of your school’s data.

The Advantages of Cloud-Based Backup

Cloud-based backup offers several advantages for schools. First, it enables multiple versions of files to be saved – this is called versioning. This feature is particularly useful in recovering from a ransomware attack, where files may have been modified or encrypted.

Second, many cloud backup solutions offer object lock or immutability features. And, third, cloud backups can be automated, reducing the workload on IT staff. They also offer scalability, allowing schools to increase storage as their data grows.

Finally, cloud backups can be accessed from anywhere, ensuring that schools can recover their data even if their physical premises are compromised. To help combat ransomware attacks, creating immutable or unalterable backups is essential. 

At this point, you may be wondering what are immutable backups? Let’s explain. 

Immutable backups are copies of files and data that cannot be altered or tampered with for a preset period of time. Immutable backup storage is particularly beneficial for schools as it allows for versioning and object locking, making it effectively ransomware-proof. Once data is written or stored, it cannot be altered or deleted until the predetermined retention period elapses.

This type of backup is designed to be deployed on production servers and offer reliable protection against ransomware, natural disasters, outages, and other threats. It’s also beneficial for complying with data regulations and facilitating forensic analysis.

How Cloud-Based Backup Can Help You Qualify for Cyber Insurance

When looking at purchasing cyber insurance, there are a number of factors to consider. Unlike purchasing auto insurance or other types of insurance, acquiring cyber insurance calls for a number of highly specific requirements to be met.  These criteria include aspects such as 

  • internal security measures;
  • staff training;
  • email security protocols; and 
  • data protection policies, among others. 

Adhering to these requirements is crucial throughout the application process.

One common area where organizations often encounter challenges is in ensuring they have robust internal security controls and a modern backup and recovery solution that aligns with the stringent requirements set by cybersecurity insurers. Stage2Data have partnered with Cohesity so we can offer you ransomware immutable backups.

These backups remain permanently unalterable and immune to modification or destruction. This improves K12 schools’ ability to effectively combat ransomware, swiftly restore operations and build trustworthy environments that align with industry guidelines and requirements.

The Bottom Line

As our world becomes increasingly digital, it’s crucial for K-12 schools to stay ahead of the game when it comes to cybersecurity. Implementing a robust cloud-based backup solution as part of this strategy can provide an essential line of defense, offering a cost-effective and practical approach to ensuring data security and recoverability and an added advantage when considering cyber insurance. 

While the challenges are significant, with the right approach and tools, schools can safeguard their digital assets and ensure the continuity of education for their students. Speak to us about cloud-based backup and how it, as part of your data security strategy, can help you qualify for cyber insurance and reduce cyber insurance premiums by up to 35%.

Find out how you can slide down your school's
Cyber Security Policy premiums by 35%

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