GLBA Safeguards: Protecting Your School Against Cyber Threats

By James Ference | November 15, 2023

The 2023 updates to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act introduce several new requirements for schools when it comes to protecting student financial records from cyber threats. Here are key recommendations for safeguarding your data, which fall under three overarching strategies. When implemented properly, these can help higher education institutions address systemic cybersecurity risk and make progress toward GLBA compliance.

Invest in High-Impact Security Measures:

  • Prioritize and invest in actions with the greatest impact.
  • Deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced access control.
  • Mitigate known vulnerabilities promptly to bolster defenses.
  • Consider updating outdated software to eliminate security gaps.
  • Implement and rigorously test data backups to ensure data recovery readiness.
  • Exercise the Incident Response Plan to be prepared for potential cyber incidents.
  • Introduce comprehensive training programs to educate staff on recognizing and reporting cyber threats, including phishing activities, data breaches, ransomware attacks, and stolen credentials.

Recognize and Actively Address Resource Constraints:

  • Employ creative approaches for obtaining the necessary resources to enhance cybersecurity.
  • Explore the possibility of utilizing available grant resources if applicable.
  • Collaborate with technology providers to implement robust security controls without incurring additional costs.
  • Consider offloading the cybersecurity burden by evaluating options for secure data storage in cloud-based environments.

Promote Collaboration and Information Sharing:

  • Collaborate and share information with peers and partners to enhance awareness and build resilience.
  • Share best practices and helpful resources with colleagues to foster a culture of collective cybersecurity vigilance.

These strategies provide a proactive framework for educational institutions to fortify their defenses against cyber threats while complying with the GLBA Safeguards Rule. By investing in impactful security measures, addressing resource constraints creatively, and fostering collaboration, institutions can better protect their sensitive data and ensure the security of their digital ecosystems.

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