SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) is considering changes after a critical Grand Jury Report was released in June on the county's cybersecurity.
The report noted Santa Barbara County schools are at great risk of cyber threats. This is due to school districts within the county not having mandated formal cybersecurity training, multi-factor authentication, and a lack of IT funding.
The report also found that the districts failed to report cyber-attacks and some district-specific Information Technology employees rarely meet. However, the Grand Jury learned that some of the districts preferred to maintain control.
Some of the report's recommendations included requiring anyone who uses district computers and works on the district’s network to receive formalized cybersecurity training at least once a year, implement multi-factor authentication for anyone logging onto the districts’ networks, and purchase cyber insurance.
In response to the Grand Jury report, the County’s Education Office said it appreciates the findings and recommendations and is looking to create a new countywide school technology advisory committee.
In a statement released to your News Channel, the County's Education Office said, “We recognize the importance of cybersecurity education in helping schools and districts to protect sensitive student information and financial data. We look forward to outlining proactive steps to help school leaders defend their data and information against cyber-attacks.”
The County’s Education Office adds it is working to also increase opportunities for education and training to safeguard school systems and sensitive data.
SBCEO said it is in the process of compiling its official responses to the Grand Jury’s recommendations and findings. The report was released on June 21 and indicates SBCEO has 90 days to respond.