Business & Technology
Having secure, reliable access to the internet is no longer an option. It’s necessary. This is especially true for schools, as curriculum and resources are increasingly moving online. However, cyberattacks are also becoming more frequent. In fact, data shows that 141 US school districts have reported one or more cyber incidents since 2016.
To meet these needs while protecting both students and networks, K-12 schools and districts across the United States are currently in the process of applying for E-rate for Funding Year 2018. The E-rate program from the Universal Service Administration Company provides funding for K-12 schools to ensure affordable internet connectivity along with critical technical infrastructure. The goal of this program is to ensure that school districts are able to provide students with regular and uninterrupted access to these cyber resources.
Additionally, the number of devices connecting to school networks is growing as a result of both students and teachers bringing their own connected devices to school. This means schools now have a need for more bandwidth or controls that prioritize bandwidth use. With E-rate, schools are able to get funding for these items and services as well.
However, the E-rate application process can be difficult to navigate. The goal of this post if to serve as a snapshot of the discussions in our webcast, Arm Your Digital Learning with These E-rate Truths and Myths, which gives a comprehensive overview of E-rate considerations before submitting a Request Bids for Service (FCC Form 470).
E-rate has strict qualifications for the types of services and products eligible for funding, and administrators must be careful to only apply for those approved by USAC. It is also worth noting that schools must already be CIPA compliant before applying in order for E-rate to be considered. This can be done through the use of a strong unified threat management program that blocks malicious sites and content, as well as email security to defend against phishing and social engineering attacks.
For consistent internet connections, schools also require a few core components. The first are data transmissions services and internet access. Second are the infrastructure and internal connections necessary for end-users to use this internet access. Internet access is covered under category one funding, while infrastructure, maintenance, and managed internal broadband services are covered under category 2 funding.
Fortinet offers multiple E-rate eligible solutions that fit within each tier of category two funding. These solutions have become a clear priority among educators, as 40 percent of participants in this webcast marked network security as their primary interest in the E-rate program.
In addition to providing seamless internet connections across various school buildings and classrooms, these solutions offer a high degree of network security, which has become necessary as the education space faces growing numbers of cyberattacks.
To learn more about Fortinet’s E-rate eligible offerings, visit our E-rate provider services page.
The E-rate program offers K-12 schools the ability to incorporate high-quality, reliable internet into their offerings. However, there are specific requirements that solutions must meet to be eligible for funding. Fortinet’s goal is to make the E-rate process as simple as possible by offering eligible solutions that incorporate in-depth security features.
Watch our webcast on demand to get a more comprehensive view of the E-rate process.