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  • Tech Journalist

IBM encourages schools to be more secure online

Statistics reports have shown that cybersecurity education and training are also needed in schools as cyber attackers do not only target businesses but are also trying to creep into educational institutions.

IBM initiated a grant program in 2021 called the "Education Security Preparedness Grants Program". This grant was launched to help schools become prepared for cyberattacks.

In 2022, more than 120 schools applied for grants to IBM across the U.S. and expanded overseas as schools needed help against cyberattacks.

IBM's 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report detailed that the cost of a data breach is estimated at $3.86 million for education institutions, and at least 30% of successful cyberattacks in the education system occurred as a result of human error.

The first eight recipients of the 2022 program include:

  • East China School District, East China, Michigan

  • Cupertino Union School District, Sunnyvale, California

  • Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, UAE

  • Rossville Cons. School District, Rossville, Indiana

  • Prince William County Public Schools, Manassas, Virginia

  • Newburgh Enlarged City School District, Newburgh, New York

  • City of Dublin Educational Training Board, Ireland

  • Goffstown School District, Goffstown, New Hampshire

The grant applications to IBM showed the schools' levels of cybersecurity preparedness, awareness and training needed to combat it. Findings revealed that one in four applicants had experienced a breach. Unfortunately, only 20% of schools have cybersecurity personnel, and most school districts lack a cybersecurity plan in case a threat happens.

Through the grant, IBM Service volunteers to work with the schools and help them proactively prepare for and be able to respond to cyber threats through various engagements. They were trained in creating ransomware playbooks, incident response plans, updating technology and cybersecurity training for their school communities.

The Global Director of employee giving and volunteerism at IBM, Patrice Key-Rhone, stated that IBM and its volunteers created a meaningful impact by supporting schools worldwide through its education and volunteer programs.

Notably, cyberattacks on schools do not only affect the schools themselves as the consequences also fall on the students and their families, which creates a terrible effect on their communities. IBM is proud to be able to render support to schools through this initiative at helping to address critical lapses in security resources and planning and preparedness.

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