Eric Rosser received a call early in the morning on February 25, 2020.
The Poughkeepsie school district received a cyber attack. Employees could not access any of their servers.
Luckily for the new superintendent, it was just a storage server that included lesson plans and insignificant files. But the attack triggered an in-depth analysis of existing systems to virtually protect the district.
“It’s extremely worrisome,” Rosser said. “Fortunately, we took precautionary measures before COVID came into our lives … We were able to use this time to strengthen our system and strengthen our protection against cyberattacks.”
The district lost information from the compromised server and bought a new one along with programming to bolster its defense. Rosser noted that no human resources, payroll or student information were compromised during the attack.
Although the district took steps to protect itself from future attacks, Rosser said work still needs to be done to strengthen the district’s cyber defenses.
This work will be done through IBM, which announced a $ 500,000 grant for the district to improve its security services. These services include password protection and the creation of communication plans and an incident response plan. IBM employees will work with the district to analyze their system and provide services.
“We would like to congratulate the Poughkeepsie City School District for being selected for the IBM Security Education Scholarship,” said Christopher Scott, IBM’s director of security innovation. “With ransomware attacks on schools on the rise, it is important, more than ever, for schools to take proactive steps to ensure their cybersecurity stance.”
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Poughkeepsie was one of six school districts that received a grant of a total of $ 250. Rosser said the work will be carried out over the summer.
This is one of several projects the district has undertaken in conjunction with IBM, including providing a hotline for families struggling with technology for e-learning and working with some of the district’s instructional programs.
“We are very grateful to IBM [the grant], while we try to incorporate IBM into our instructional programming and rely on COVID post technology; this will be of extreme importance to us, “Rosser said.” We certainly do not want anything to impede our progress with the ability to meet the needs of our children academically, socially and emotionally. ”
Katelyn Cordero is the educational reporter for the Poughkeepsie Journal: firstname.lastname@example.org; 845-437-4870; Twitter: @KatelynCordero.