Cybersecurity Insurance Needs for K-12 School Districts


Due to the high value of student and staff personal data, K-12 school districts are increasingly targeted for cyberattack by bad actors around the globe which can result in the disruption of classes, significant financial losses, lawsuits, and damage to the district’s reputation. School administrators may not be aware that general liability insurance excludes coverage for cybersecurity attack-related liability claims. To mitigate the impact of a cyberattack, it's important for school districts to have proper cybersecurity insurance.

What is cybersecurity insurance? Cybersecurity insurance provides coverage against online liability and risks associated with a cyber attack. It helps businesses clean up and recover from a cyber attack by mitigating the costs that occur in the aftermath of an attack. There are two levels of cybersecurity insurance, first-party and third-party. First-party coverage addresses the direct losses experienced from a cyber attack. Third-party coverage focuses on the legal action taken by anyone outside the business (e.g. customers, vendors, partners). When looking to secure cybersecurity insurance be sure to find a well-qualified insurance agent who focuses on cybersecurity insurance.

Challenges and Limitations of Cybersecurity Insurance

A key challenge to securing cybersecurity insurance is the overall premium cost. Some school districts may feel the cost is too high, especially given the limited budgets many schools have to work with. However, it's important to remember the cost of a successful cyberattack or data breach will almost certainly be an order of magnitude higher than the cost of insurance. School administrators need to decide whether the high cost for the insurance is worth the risk of having to rebuild an entire online infrastructure.

It’s important to recognize there are limitations to cybersecurity insurance coverage for K-12 schools. School districts are encouraged to work closely with their insurance company to understand the level of coverage provided and any potential coverage restrictions. In addition, the requirements to qualify for coverage must be carefully considered as it can be challenging for several reasons:

  • Lack of standardization: There is no widely accepted set of standards for measuring the security of an organization, which makes it difficult for insurance companies to assess and quantify the level of risk they are taking on.
  • Evolving threat landscape: The constantly changing nature of cyber threats means that insurance companies must continually update their underwriting criteria and assess the risks posed by new and emerging technologies.
  • Complexity of systems: Many organizations have complex IT systems that are difficult to fully understand and evaluate. Insurance companies need to have a thorough understanding of these systems in order to accurately assess the risks they pose.
  • Difficulty in measuring losses: Unlike traditional insurance policies, it can be difficult to quantify the financial losses resulting from a cyberattack. This makes it challenging for insurance companies to determine the appropriate level of coverage and premiums to offer.
  • Responsibility for security: Insurance companies are looking for organizations that have taken responsibility for their own cybersecurity by implementing appropriate controls and practices. If an organization is not proactive in this area, it may be difficult for them to obtain insurance coverage. The good news is school districts that demonstrate a high level of effective cybersecurity controls and deployed solutions that result in a strong security posture, often are eligible for lower premiums.

Overall, the challenge of qualifying for cybersecurity insurance is due to the dynamic and complex nature of the cyber threat landscape and the need for insurance companies to accurately assess and manage the risks associated with cyberattacks.

The bottom line is K-12 school districts clearly face significant risks from cyberattacks. Cybersecurity insurance is a powerful tool to minimize the damage and financial impacts of an attack. By implementing the necessary tools and procedures to qualify for cybersecurity insurance coverage, as well as employing a comprehensive cybersecurity program, school districts can mitigate these risks, ensuring that students and staff remain safe, and that the school district remains financially secure.

Securus360 is focused exclusively on the K-12 education space and has developed a proven cybersecurity approach that is deployed at schools across the United States. The Securus360 Managed eXtended Detection & Response (MXDR) platform provides comprehensive protection against cyberattacks, including: detailed and ongoing vulnerability assessments, 24/7/365 real-time threat hunting, monitoring & detection, automated incident response and hybrid intelligence-based security analytics that combine Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with human cyber security analysts to ensure maximum alert accuracy.

To learn more contact Securus360 to schedule a time to speak with a cybersecurity expert.

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