Education & Government
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Jill Holtz
Content Strategy Manager

Strengthening cybersecurity in public education: A tech-powered approach

October 6, 2023
0 min read
Strengthening cybersecurity in public education

Those who serve in public education cannot escape the significance of cybersecurity, as the number of threats and the average cost of a ransomware attack both continue to rise.

Board management software can serve as a valuable ally for K-12 schools and community colleges. It helps bolster defenses for educational administration by offering secure communication, strengthening governance, and supporting better decision-making.

Taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity is the only way to prepare for inevitable cyberattacks.

How board management software enhances cybersecurity

Board solutions can play a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining the integrity of your educational institution as you work within an increasingly complex environment. Here are some of the ways it enhances cybersecurity:

1. Secure communication

Board management solutions offer staff encrypted communication channels, ensuring that sensitive discussions remain confidential and protected from eavesdropping.

Many superintendents prefer to keep board members updated between meetings with a Friday memo. Utilizing cloud-based software like Diligent Community for distribution of these memos and accompanying materials to the board is a security investment, as logging in to a secure portal eliminates the likelihood of users clicking on a tainted email or attachment.

2. Secure document storage

These solutions also provide secure document storage, reducing the risk of sensitive documents being mishandled or accessed by unauthorized individuals. It also allows these materials to be searchable for later reference.

3. Controlled access

Access to board documents and discussions can be restricted to authorized personnel only, ensuring that sensitive information is not accessible to individuals who do not need it.

4. Real-time updates and meeting alerts

Should the worst happen, and your district experiences an emergency or even the threat of a hack, secure information can be shared through your board management software instead of texts, emails and other unsecured communications. While district officials are handling the crisis, board members can receive real-time updates on cybersecurity threats, incidents, and mitigation strategies, without having to be on-site.

Board management software can send meeting alerts and notifications, ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are informed and can participate in discussions or decision-making processes.

5. Policy adoption and management

You can use your board management software to facilitate the review and approval of cyber policies and procedures, making it easier to keep these documents up-to-date and in compliance with evolving threats and regulations.

6. Supporting cybersecurity enforcement

By using board management software, you are also promoting cyber-safe behavior, by maintaining cybersecurity standards and helping to ensure that compliance measures are followed.

7. Incident response planning

Board management software can also aid in incident response planning by providing a centralized location for documenting incidents, discussing response strategies, and tracking progress in addressing security breaches or vulnerabilities.

8. Training and education

Board members and administrators can use their board management software to access cybersecurity policy documents, guidelines, and best practices to enhance their knowledge and awareness of cybersecurity threats and defenses.

9. Agenda workflows and audit trails

Using a service like Diligent Community sets up workflow processes that create an efficient process to prepare agendas and materials for the board related to cybersecurity planning.

Your software can also maintain audit trails of cybersecurity-related discussions and decisions, providing transparency and accountability for governance and compliance purposes.

Benefits of using board management software to enhance cybersecurity practices

Using board management software can yield a range of outcomes and benefits for educational boards when it comes to cybersecurity, including:

Data protection and risk mitigation

Educational boards can safeguard sensitive data, preventing unauthorized access and breaches and thereby preserving privacy and maintaining compliance with data protection regulations like FERPA.

By providing a centralized place for cybersecurity discussions and incident response planning, board management software helps identify, assess and mitigate risks effectively, reducing the potential impact of security incidents.

Improved decision-making and incident response

Real-time updates and secure communication facilitate informed decision-making on cybersecurity matters, allowing boards to allocate resources more efficiently and make timely adjustments to policies and procedures.

A well-structured incident response plan supported by board management software can reduce downtime and minimize damage during security incidents, ensuring a faster return to normalcy.

Enhanced compliance and increased trust

Boards can uphold compliance with cybersecurity regulations and standards more efficiently, minimizing the risk of legal penalties and reputation damage.

Demonstrating a commitment to strong cybersecurity practices can enhance public trust in educational institutions, reassuring students, parents, and stakeholders that their data is secure.

Operational continuity

Effective cybersecurity practices supported by board management software contribute to the uninterrupted operation of educational institutions, minimizing disruptions due to security incidents.

Improved awareness through training

Training and education information made accessible through board management software can raise cybersecurity awareness among board members and staff, reducing the likelihood of human error in security practices.

Strategic alignment and long-term sustainability

By aligning cybersecurity initiatives with the overall strategic goals of the educational board, institutions can maximize the impact of cybersecurity efforts on their mission and vision.

Board management software helps educational boards plan for the long-term sustainability of their cybersecurity practices, ensuring that systems are continuously updated and improved.

Using technology to strengthen your cybersecurity defenses

By providing a secure and organized single location for communication, collaboration, and governance, board management software contributes to a more robust cybersecurity posture for K-12 schools and community colleges.

Educational institutions can better protect their data, systems, and sensitive information while fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness and accountability among board members and administrators.

We at Diligent understand the needs educational board members face during times of rapid technological change. That is why Diligent Community is a cloud-based board management software that offers secure servers, the strongest level of encryption currently available and regular updates to ensure it remains the right choice for enhanced cybersecurity practices for the modern district.


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