Balancing protection and cost models

Unless your funding and budgets are continually predictable, it can be difficult to balance the need for protection with cost control. However, the downside to inadequate cybersecurity can be extremely costly, so it’s essential to have a realistic strategy for coping with the capital and operating costs of effective security.

Security technology requires continuous updating to be effective. That can place a strain on capital resources. Government E-rate funding can help to some extent - for example, by subsidizing the cost of firewall security (as part of an Internet access solution) but it can’t support all aspects of security for education.

Employing people with the right security skills and expertise creates additional costs. It’s also an operating expenditure that’s not always predictable.

To conserve capital and benefit from more predictable security management costs, it makes sense to consider an OpEx based strategy that takes advantage of external network security services. With AT&T, you’ll also have the confidence of knowing that those services are backed up by world-class security technology and expertise that’s continually updated to cope with ever-changing risks and threats.

How to protect school networks from ransomware attacks

The worldwide ransomware attack that hit business, hospital, and school networks on May 12, 2017 served as a stark reminder of the need for school IT leaders to protect their networks against such attacks.

The “WannaCry” ransomware attack infected more than 100,000 computers in at least 104 countries, Reuters reported.

It tricked people into opening malicious attachments to email messages that seemed to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings, and other legitimate files.

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Security as an investment

Is confidence key to the success of your education establishment? If it is, then it’s time to see cybersecurity as an investment rather than simply an expense.

Security isn’t the type of investment on which you expect a tidy, clearly defined percentage return. It’s an investment that helps to protect the confidence of students, faculty, administration and governing bodies by protecting the flow of information, communication and collaboration that’s critical to success in today’s technology-driven education environment.

Traditional ROI models can overlook the value that cybersecurity delivers until the cost of inadequate security is brought into sharp focus when an attack occurs or operational continuity is disrupted.

With an ‘investment versus expense’ mindset, it’s possible to avoid learning the hard way about the value of effective security for an education network.

How E-rate can support security investment

When it comes to security, only firewalls are eligible for E-rate funding. Firewalls are eligible under either Category 1 or Category 2 funding with FCC guidance as follows:

Eligible Internet access may include features such as basic firewall protection, domain name service, and dynamic host configuration - when these features are provided as a standard component of a vendor’s Internet access service. Firewall protection that is provided by a vendor other than the Internet access provider, or priced out separately, will be considered a Category 2 internal connections component.

Category 1 E-rate funding is preferred by customers as it is available annually, assuming the applicant follows all E-rate rules.

Category 2 funding, however, is capped at $150/student over a five year E-rate budget cycle. As a result, a customer must consider carefully how to allocate that $150/student cap for Category 2 funding. Category 2 funds spent on firewalls eat into the $150/student budget. Customers must also evaluate whether to use additional capped Category 2 funds later to refresh its firewall, or to spend those Category 2 funds for other defined equipment such as routers, switches, wireless access points, power supplies etc.

Category 1

Category 1 funding has no cap.

Category 1 funding is available annually

Category 2

Category 2 funding is capped at $150 per student.

Category 2 funding is available every five years