Cybersecurity Threats and the Cyber Insurance Industry

Written By:  Jackie Turnage-Ferber

Client Training and Technology Coordinator

Missouri schools are at a greater risk for unplanned cyber incidents because of the push to incorporate technology and eLearning solutions into the teaching and learning landscape. As administrators and teachers struggle to ensure connectivity and accessibility, schools have become more vulnerable.

Public K-12 schools and community colleges are attractive to cyber criminals because of the volume of data each entity holds, including Social Security and bank account numbers, health records, and other personal information required for school records. Since 2018, the number of cybersecurity events within the MUSIC program has increased by 1,300 percent. This number is expected to continue climbing in the coming years.

In June 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued a warning related to cyber-attacks. In this alert, schools were notified that “cyber actors are likely to increase targeting of K–12 schools, because they represent an opportunistic target, especially as more of these institutions transitioned to distance learning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most frequently experienced types of school-related cyber incidents in 2020 including the following:

• Data Breaches

• Ransomware or Malware, and

• Social Engineering

MUSIC members are not safe from a potential cybersecurity incident.

During the Annual Membership Meeting, Steve Robinson presenting an informative session titled, “Avoiding Phishing, Ransomware, and Social Engineering.” In his presentation, he highlighted several risk management techniques, including preventing and mitigating ransomware damage. MUSIC members must implement an incident response plan, train employees, and employ best practices to reduce cyber risks and minimize cyber insurance’s rising costs. Without adopting proactive strategies, MUSIC could be looking at premium increases, substantial deductible increases, and limited insurance options.

In the coming weeks, MUSIC will roll out timely cybersecurity training and webinars to help members proactively address cybersecurity risks. This training will highlight the cyber risks schools face and discuss a comprehensive framework that breaks best practices down into five simple key functions:

• Identify

• Protect

• Detect

• Respond, and

• Recover

School technology leaders and administrators must develop strategies to protect against and mitigate breaches by procuring technology and developing risk management policies, planning for incidents before they occur, and identifying teams to respond to and mitigate a breach. Upcoming cyber training initiatives will help MUSIC members in this quest.

Do you have questions about cybersecurity?

Contact a MUSIC team member with your questions.