School Districts and Cybersecurity – How the Southwest Airlines Debacle Provides a Warning

Securus360

The recent flight cancellations and delays caused by Southwest Airlines' computer systems crashing have sent shockwaves through the airline industry and beyond. The efforts to recover their operations and the loss of revenue will cost the airline close to $1 billion – and this is not counting the damage to the company’s reputation. But what many people may not realize is that this event is a warning sign of what lies ahead for school districts, and all other organizations, in the new year and beyond. As cyberattacks become increasingly sophisticated, it is essential that school districts upgrade their security systems to protect against malicious activity. The Southwest debacle should be a wake-up call to review and update security measures, so that school districts don't fall victim to cyber threats.

Why the Southwest Airlines mass flight cancelations happened?

Last month, Southwest Airlines experienced a massive failure in its computer system, resulting in the cancelation of over 16,000 flights. This disruption in service will cost the airline hundreds of millions of dollars and disrupted the plans of thousands of passengers.

The cause of this massive failure was traced back to an outdated system used by the airline to manage its flight operations. While the exact details of the system are still unclear, it appears that Southwest had failed to upgrade their technology to keep up with industry standards. This failure resulted in an overload on the system, causing it to crash.

This incident is an valuable reminder of the importance of staying up to date with the latest technology and cybersecurity measures. In an increasingly digital world, it is essential for organizations to invest in the latest technology and software to ensure their systems are protected against potential threats. If an organization fails to do so, they run the risk of experiencing a major disruption like Southwest did.

This incident is a warning sign for school districts and other educational institutions. With the rising prevalence of cyberattacks, it is vital for school districts to invest in strong cybersecurity measures to protect themselves from potential threats that could cripple their operations and severely damage their reputations. By taking the necessary steps to upgrade their systems, school districts can help ensure their technology infrastructures are secure and reliable.

What are the dangers of not investing in cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity threats are a growing problem, with malicious actors targeting educational institutions more than any other industry in the last year. Without adequate cybersecurity measures in place, any school or university will be vulnerable to ransomware attacks, as well as data theft, malicious software infiltration, and identity theft. School districts and universities are prime targets and must take steps to ensure their systems are up-to-date and secure.

Data breaches can lead to lost or stolen records, financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities. Moreover, hackers may take control of computers and networks, leading to outages and disruptions in service. This could prevent students from accessing important educational resources, which can negatively impact their learning and academic achievement. Just earlier this week, Des Moines Public Schools had to cancel all classes on Tuesday, because computer systems and networks were severely disrupted by a cyberattack.

According to recent reports, the average ransom payment is nearing $1 million, and the average total cost of a ransomware attack is estimated to be $4.62 million. The additional costs include lost business from downtime, as well as remedial costs such as repairing damaged systems, rebuilding databases, and restoring files. Additional costs from lawsuits are possible as well. Given these costs associated with a cyberattack, it is imperative for school districts and universities to prioritize their cybersecurity investments and ensure they have the most up-to-date technologies and protocols in place to protect their networks and data.

Tips for enhancing your cybersecurity posture in 2023

School districts should take proactive measures now to identify and address gaps in their security systems. A vulnerability assessment can help identify weak points in your system that could be exploited by cybercriminals. Once the assessment is completed, it’s time to start building out a comprehensive cybersecurity plan.

Here are our top 4 tips for enhancing your cybersecurity posture in 2023:

  1. Invest in a Managed eXtended Detection and Response (MXDR) solution: the Securus360 MXDR platform provides visibility across your network, giving you an instant view into any threat activity. This advanced hybrid intelligence technology can help detect threats quickly and accurately, allowing you to act before any damage is done.
  2. Strengthen your authentication processes: You should also consider strengthening your authentication processes by using multifactor authentication (MFA). This ensures that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive data. It also adds an extra layer of protection against hackers.
  3. Implement regular system updates: Make sure your systems are always running the latest version of software and hardware. This helps protect against any newly discovered vulnerabilities or exploits that could be used to gain access to your networks and data.
  4. Implement Routine Staff & Student Cybersecurity Training: This will ensure that everyone is aware of the security risks and best practices when using school systems. With the right tools, school districts can make sure their networks, data, and applications are safe and secure. Investing in a comprehensive cybersecurity plan and leveraging managed security services is the most cost-effective way to protect your school against cybercrime. Don’t wait - contact Securus360 to get started on safeguarding your school from any potential threats.

With the right tools, school districts can make sure their networks, data, and applications are safe and secure. Investing in a comprehensive cybersecurity plan and leveraging managed security services is the most cost-effective way to protect your school against cybercrime. Don’t wait - contact Securus360 to get started on safeguarding your school from any potential threats.

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