The MUSIC insurance program has announced a set of 7 cyber controls that must be implemented by July 1, 2023. This is an important step in protecting schools from the growing number of cyber-attacks.  An email was sent regarding this information in January 2023 to school districts.

The 7 cyber controls are designed to improve the security of schools and help them protect their data and assets from malicious actors. These controls include measures such as implementing multi-factor authentication, data recovery, and proper configurations and management of your IT assets. Specifically, the 7 cyber controls include:

  • Multifactor Authentication
  • Data Backups
  • Incidence Disaster Recovery | Incidence Response Plan
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
  • Training and Planning
  • Secure Email Filtering
  • Privileged Access Account Security

By enforcing these 7 cyber controls, the MUSIC insurance program will help ensure that Missouri School Districts are better protected against cyber threats. It will also provide peace of mind to customers who can be sure that their data and information is safe and secure.

Midwest Computech will be providing services to MUSIC by providing vulnerability scans of school networks.

Below is deeper dive into these 7 cybersecurity controls.

Control #1
Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

is a security measure that has become increasingly popular in recent years. MFA involves the use of more than one authentication method to confirm that a user is who they say they are. This is becoming an essential tool for organizations to protect themselves against cyber-attacks and data breaches.

MFA should be used for all remote access points, such as email, cloud storage, computer log in, and online banking. MFA requires users to authenticate themselves with at least two different methods, such as passwords, biometrics, or tokens. By using multiple authentication methods, organizations can reduce the risk of unauthorized access to their systems and data. The use of MFA also helps to ensure that only authorized personnel are able to access sensitive information.

Control #2
Data backups are an essential part of any organization’s data security strategy.

They provide a way to protect against data loss due to hardware failure, malicious attacks, or other unforeseen events. For K12 school districts and community colleges, it is especially important to have an effective backup process in place for their critical data.

Backup processes for the school districts and community colleges involve the creation of copies of their important data and the secure storage of those copies in order to prevent or minimize potential losses. The process typically includes the selection of appropriate backup media such as hard drives and cloud storage; the scheduling of backups; and the testing and verification of backups. By properly implementing a data backup process, districts and colleges can ensure that their critical data is safe from loss in case of any unforeseen events.

Control #3
When it comes to cybersecurity, an incident response plan (IRP)

is a must-have. It is a documented set of instructions and procedures that can be used to detect, respond to, and limit the impact of any security incident. This plan should include steps on how to identify the source of the attack, contain the damage caused by it, and remediate any vulnerabilities that may have been exploited. The plan should also include information about who needs to be notified in case of an incident and what type of communication should be used. Having a well-defined incident response plan will help organizations stay prepared for potential security incidents in the future. A well-structured incident response plan can help organizations quickly identify threats, reduce damage caused by malicious attacks, and restore operations more quickly.

Control #4
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

is an important security tool that enables organizations to detect and respond to cyber threats like ransomware and malware. It monitors end-user devices, such as laptops, desktops, and tablets, for any suspicious activity or malicious code. Once detected, it notifies the organization so that appropriate action can be taken.

EDR solutions have become increasingly popular due to their ability to detect threats quickly and accurately. They are also able to provide detailed information about the threat which can help organizations better understand the risks posed by malicious code. Additionally, EDR solutions can also help organizations respond more effectively by providing notification when a threat is detected as well as recommendations on how to mitigate the risk of future attacks.

Control #5
Training and Planning

Cybersecurity is a critical component of any school.

Training and Planning to protect their data and infrastructure is mission critical.  Schools and colleges need to have an audited written plan for patching critical software and hardware. They also need to provide employees with cybersecurity training, including phishing simulations, to ensure that they are aware of the latest threats.

By implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity training program, Missouri school districts can make sure that their employees are well-versed in the latest security protocols and can identify potential risks before they become a problem. Additionally, having an audited written plan for patching critical software and hardware will ensure that the business is not exposed to any vulnerabilities in its systems.

This will ensure that the organization can protect itself from malicious actors and prevent data breaches. Not only do these measures help protect the organization from potential threats, but they also help build trust with patrons and partners by showing that the organization takes security seriously.

Control #6
Secure Email Filter and Configurations

Email is one of the most important communication tools in the world, but it's also one of the most vulnerable. To protect your email and email servers from outside interference, you need to use secure protocols that will help keep attackers at bay. By implementing secure email filters and configurations, you can ensure that your emails are protected from malicious actors and unwanted intrusions. You can also configure filters to block suspicious emails and protect against phishing attempts or other malicious activities. With a secure email filter and best-practice configurations in place, you can rest assured that your emails are safe from outside interference.

Control #7
Privileged Access Account Security Measures

Privileged Access Account Security Measures are essential for ensuring the safety of school staff and students. Educators and School Staff should only have access and permissions needed to perform their tasks and nothing more. This will help protect sensitive data from unauthorized access or manipulation by malicious actors.

It is important for schools to implement measures such as strong password policies, two-factor authentication, user activity monitoring, role-based access control, and other security measures to ensure that privileged accounts are secure from external threats. Schools should also have an incident response plan in place in case of a security breach or attack. These measures will help protect the school's data from malicious actors and ensure that educators and staff can do their job without worrying about the security of their accounts.

As educators and school staff are responsible for the safety and security of students, it is essential that they only have access to the resources they need to do their job. Privileged Access Account Security Measures help ensure that all educators and school staff have the proper access and permissions needed to perform their tasks while preventing them from accessing any unneeded or unauthorized data. These measures also provide a layer of protection against potential cyber threats, such as phishing attacks or malicious software. By implementing these measures, schools can protect themselves from data breaches and other security risks.

Midwest Computech is working diligently with Missouri Public Schools and Colleges to partner with their IT Staff and Administrations to ensure these 7 cyber controls are in place for the 2023-2024 School Year.   Contact Us today to schedule a free consultation.