How to Defend Your Network Against Security Threats
State, local, and education (SLED) organizations are suffering targeted ransomware attacks. At the start of February 2023, schools in Nantucket, Massachusetts were attacked using ransomware, causing the school district to cancel classes for more than a day. The attack shut down student and staff devices and disabled security systems. At around the same time, the city of Oakland in California was also hit by a ransomware attack.
As stewards of student and constituent information, educational institutions and government agencies are obligated to defend this sensitive data against security threats. However, these organizations may lack the money, skill sets, and IT staff needed to develop and implement a robust network security strategy.
By adopting managed services for network security, SLED organizations can defend their networks using firewall and vulnerability management, as well as patching and backup and recovery.
The firewall prevents threats from gaining entry to organizational systems through the network. SLED organizations need to configure their firewalls correctly to prevent ransomware and other common attacks. These organizations also must monitor the network for potential threats around the clock.
Firewall as a service provides seamless network monitoring and centralizes firewall management, enabling organizations to set security policies for controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic. The managed service provider (MSP) will have the know-how and the resources to right-size the firewall, set policies, and monitor the network. Organizations may even benefit from next-generation firewall (NGFW) features, such as automation.
SLED organizations must identify vulnerabilities to prevent hackers from exploiting them to stage attacks. Once vulnerabilities have been detected, the organization needs a plan in place for remediating them that includes installing patches.
With vulnerability management as a service, schools and government agencies can enlist an MSP to run regular vulnerability scans and report on the results for continuous improvement of network security. The MSP will have the expertise and experience needed to uncover risk and eliminate any weaknesses, such as unpatched software.
MSPs provide a fresh perspective that allows them to perform a vulnerability assessment that exposes security weaknesses your internal team may have overlooked.
Backup and Recovery
Backup and recovery is crucial for defending against ransomware attacks. Without backup, SLED organizations can’t recover the data encrypted by a ransomware attack without paying a ransom that they can’t easily afford.
Today’s ransomware attacks often delete on-site backup files, so organizations need to create and store off-site backups in the cloud or a colocation. With backup and recovery as a service, the MSP replicates and stores information for schools and government agencies so it can be used to recover from an attack. An MSP may provide cloud backup, which is much more affordable for SLED organizations than creating a secondary data center.
Following a Cybersecurity Framework
Working with an MSP makes it easier and more cost-effective for school districts and government agencies to follow frameworks for network security, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework recommends a continuous process of identifying, protecting, detecting, responding, and recovering.
BridgeTek Solutions, a Lockstep Technology Group company, delivers mission-focused security to organizations in government and education. We understand that providing exceptional experiences for students and constituents requires secure connectivity and communications.
That’s why we offer Security Assessments & Advisory Services for SLED organizations. We can help your organization develop a network security strategy that follows best practices and cybersecurity frameworks using best-in-breed security tools.
Is your organization’s network protected? Find out by getting an IT security assessment from BridgeTek.