Quakertown Community School District, Quakertown, Pennsylvania
District State: Pennsylvania
District Website: qcsd.org
Savvier computer users can better protect a school from cyberattacks. With hacking threats against K12 increasing, Quakertown Community School District set out in 2017 to educate end users to fortify its first line of defense.
“Our goal was to ensure our end users were educated on a monthly basis with important information to make them aware of ongoing threats,” says Joe Kuzo, director of technology.
The district also made back-end upgrades with a new firewall, and tightened access to its wired and wireless networks, with an eye toward blocking internet of things threats. “Most importantly, we tightened up all policies and procedures around student information and human resource data,” Kuzo says.
Quakertown offers online cybersecurity courses for teachers, parents and students. The district follows the Consortium for School Networking’s Trusted Learning Environment framework, which sets standards for leadership, technology and transparency around the protection of student data.
The district has not experienced any security breaches since instituting the initiative. And newly automated processes mean the IT team doesn’t spend long periods of time diagnosing and fixing network issues.
PD was conducted in-house to get the IT team up to speed on the technology.
Among the lessons learned was the need to define goals at the outset. “We didn’t have a completely clear plan on the endgame,” Kuzo says. “We had to then make numerous changes along the way as conversations provoked changes we never thought about.”
Going forward, the district will keep cybersecurity as a No. 1 focus as it updates its policies.