K-12 Cyber Security – Survey Reveals IT Leader Perceptions


Do you know what would happen to your school district’s data in the event of a cyber-attack? How much data, exactly, would be at-risk if your school district were suddenly exposed? Who would be affected and what information could become available?

In short, is your district prepared to handle the rising number of cyber-attacks on K-12 school districts across the country?

Many districts are not, according to a survey conducted by Frontline Education. Over a quarter of K-12 IT leaders say their current security and privacy posture is only “basic awareness” or even “lacking.”

And less than 1 in 5 say they have a “mature” security and privacy posture.

How would you describe your district’s overall security and privacy posture?

districts k12 cyber security and privacy posture

districts k12 cyber security and privacy posture

When it comes to information as sensitive as student data, that’s a troubling issue. When it’s an entire school’s or district’s worth of data? That’s an even bigger problem.

The Problem: K-12 Cyber Security Attacks on the Rise

The survey spun off of another recent survey, conducted by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), which revealed that cyber security had moved into the top spot amongst current K-12 IT leadership concerns.

And with good reason.

Education cyber-attacks have been on the rise in the US in recent years. Phishing, poor data management, external hackers, internal bad actors, even cyber advisories… with so many avenues to exploit, it’s only a matter of time until someone takes advantage. Unfortunately, schools are often viewed as “soft targets,” due largely to outdated or ineffective security programs.

According to Ed Tech Strategies’ K-12 Cyber Incident Map, 67 reported incidents of cyber infiltration occurred during the 2016 school year, while 74 incidents occurred just in the first five months of 2017. Experts believe these numbers will continue to rise.

The Solution: Develop a Plan to Manage Cyber Risk

So, what’s the solution?

It’s all about having a plan. In fact, the K-12 IT leaders in our survey identified “no clearly defined plan” as the biggest obstacle in managing cyber risk.

What do you believe is your district’s biggest obstacle in managing cyber risk?

districts k12 cyber security and privacy posture

districts k12 cyber security and privacy posture

Internet blacklisting, endpoint protection, network access control and role-based access control are all good short-term fixes, but do they strike at the heart of the problem? What’s needed isn’t a quick fix, but a plan and processes in place that will ensure your data remains secure, no matter who might come knocking.

We’ve done some of the legwork for you. To learn more about building the best cyber security plan for your district, check out our Cyber Security Program Getting Started Guide.

Download the Guide  

Frontline Security Team

Frontline Education’s software solutions support over 4.1 million users daily in the education field across the US and abroad. From professional development records to substitute placement to special education reports and more, we know districts depend on their digital resources. That’s why we take district and student data security so seriously. Learn more about our industry-leading commitment to security here.