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Is Your School District Prepared for a Cyber Attack? How Zayo Can Help


With students and staff preparing to head back to school, administrators must also prepare to tackle the current cybersecurity crisis. School cybersecurity is vulnerable as ongoing IT talent shortages and network attacks against educational institutions continue. And with 30% of the current cyber workforce planning to change professions in the future and school districts experiencing a sharp increase of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in the past two years, this crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

What Makes Schools Appealing Targets for Cyber Attacks?

In today’s modern learning environments, operational and instructional systems depend on connectivity to access online learning portals, create lesson plans, track and report attendance and grading, and power their payroll and HR systems. One cyber attack can render all those functions inoperable, bring operations to a standstill, and wreak financial havoc on a school district. Cyber attacks can potentially cause school districts to experience a total system lockdown, resulting in lost data, a network that doesn’t work, and severely-disrupted learning environments because students and teachers can’t access their digital learning tools and resources.

Educational institutions also sit on a wealth of valuable information that makes them a prime target for data breaches. They have students’ full names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, and addresses. Armed with this data, hackers can sell students’ personal information on the dark web or open lines of credit in a student’s name without their knowledge.

Another factor to consider is that even students themselves can be the perpetrator, especially concerning DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks are more inexpensive and easy to purchase than many people realize. A student could simply order a DDoS attack online to disrupt their district’s network activity for hours and take their learning environments offline.

With only 14% of school districts describing themselves as “very prepared” to deal with a cyber attack, it’s evident that schools need to improve how they handle cybersecurity issues that arise. Educational institutions must have a cybersecurity service in place to defend against possible attacks and data breaches.

How Zayo is Providing Cybersecurity Services to the Education Sector

At Zayo, we connect our customers to what’s next by providing a future-ready network and connectivity solutions tailored to customer needs. But we also connect customers to what’s next through continual enhancements to our products and services.

We recently acquired Education Networks of America (ENA), a leader in providing managed network connectivity, communications and cybersecurity services to K-12 school districts, in order to enhance the depth and breadth of the products and services we deliver to schools and libraries across the U.S.

Together, we’re uniquely positioned to provide education sector customers with high-quality managed services and exceptional customer care.

Cybersecurity Services School Districts Need

By combining ENA’s innovative technology solutions and services with Zayo’s leading, nationwide fiber network, ENA by Zayo provides school districts with vital cybersecurity resources, including:

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Unified Threat Management
With unified threat management, schools gain critical visibility and control of their network with a co-management portal. By merging security and network functions, security infrastructure is simplified, making it easier to spot possible threats and take action quickly. Unified threat management can also continuously update threat prevention intelligence, helping networks stay protected.

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DDoS Mitigation
DDoS mitigation solutions proactively scan and analyze a network for attacks. Once our solution detects an attack, it reroutes traffic to a scrubbing center, removes the malicious packets and leaves all desired traffic intact, protecting customers’ Internet connection.

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Hosted Firewall
hosted firewall blocks malicious traffic and attacks before Internet access is disrupted. To ensure continued protection against attacks, hosted firewall features multiple layers of failover architecture within hardened facilities.