Physical and Cybersecurity for K-12 School Districts

Enable Digital Learning Resources While Ensuring Physical and Digital Safety of Networks and Students

Many K-12 school districts are rapidly transforming their networks to implement eLearning and other digital programs to enhance student learning across distributed campuses. In addition to improving new educational platforms, there are large amounts of financial and personally identifiable information (PII) that must be protected. As these networks continue to transform to deliver better learning experiences across campuses, cybersecurity for K-12 school districts is often overlooked, making schools prime targets for cybercriminals.

Lean IT staffs can find it difficult to meet the growing demands of security for K-12 school districts—many of which do not have a dedicated cybersecurity employee. They must meet a variety of compliance requirements, such as the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), manage siloed security devices, and ensure that their campus is equipped with physical monitoring systems to keep students safe.

Physical and cybersecurity for K-12 school districts require a unified, cost-effective solution that expands to all campuses and helps meet compliance. An integrated approach not only alleviates the strain on lean IT teams but also helps them achieve their ultimate goal—delivering a network that streamlines education while securing students.

Create Safer Schools and Campuses with Physical and Cyber Security Solutions from Fortinet

Create Safer Schools and Campuses with Physical and Cyber Security Solutions from Fortinet

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Fortinet Security Fabric Empowers K-12

Fortinet Security Fabric Empowers K-12

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Charting The Security Journey For K-12 Schools

Charting The Security Journey For K-12 Schools

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Cybersecurity for K-12 Overview

Fortinet Security Fabric enables K-12 schools to protect their digital assets, faculty, staff, and students with a comprehensive, integrated set of security solutions.

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Key K-12 Cybersecurity Challenges

safety

Ensuring Physical and Cyber Safety for Children

Schools are responsible for protecting their students. Students must be protected from physical harm during school-related events and activities, as well as from the threat of criminal attacks on campus. In addition, students must be protected from cyber threats and vulnerabilities among school-owned devices, Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, and non-network personal mobile devices on the network. While physical and cybersecurity of K-12 schools have primarily been operated in silos, there is an increasing need to integrate the two to ensure complete campuswide protection.

cost

Providing Cost-effective Digital Learning Resources

Cutting-edge digital and eLearning resources are critical components for the modernized classroom. Yet, finding the resources to enhance education experiences for students amid already thin budgets is difficult. As a result, some K-12 school districts are turning to more affordable options such as Chromebooks that require more connected, high-speed infrastructures. To meet these demands, many schools are applying for E-rate funding that can be used for technologies such as access points and switches that help deliver secure Wi-Fi, and next-generation firewalls that help protect the entire network and devices. However, investment in any digital learning resource without considering cybersecurity leaves new devices and resources at risk. K-12 schools need digital experiences that do not overlook security or network performance needs.

operation

Rationalizing IT Operations

As a result of digital innovations, many K-12 school districts are left grappling with how to protect the expanded attack surface. Often, they purchase and deploy an array of point solutions as new issues arise, unintentionally creating an expensive, unintegrated, and siloed security architecture in the process. This type of infrastructure creates numerous operational inefficiencies that lean security teams struggle to manage, making effective threat detection a complex burden.

compliance reporting

Maintaining and Demonstrating Compliance

K-12 schools must adhere to a number of specific regulations and compliance measures to ensure their students’ PII records remain secure, that their connected devices only access appropriate content on the internet, and that they remain protected from cyber threats. The array of threats students face often requires schools to demonstrate compliance with regulations such as the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Delivering end-to-end security that supports digital infrastructures for enhanced learning in classrooms and productivity in back-office environments.

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Powering secure, high-performance networking to branch locations without requiring dedicated IT personnel at each campus.

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Enabling an integrated physical surveillance system that connects to the greater security architecture and monitors for dangerous activity to keep students safe.

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Providing web filtering and network segmentation to ensure students can only access approved internet content while helping campuses meet compliance and regulatory requirements.

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Cybersecurty for K12 Diagram Digital Learning Infrastructure The Distributed District Campus Safety Student Online Safety and Compliance
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Fortinet Differentiators for K-12 Cybersecurity

integration

Open, Flexible Platform

With Fortinet, K-12 school districts can build a fully integrated security platform that extends across the entire security infrastructure, from endpoints to cloud applications and services. School districts with third-party partner solutions can seamlessly integrate them into the Fortinet Security Fabric with open application programming interfaces (APIs) and Fortinet Fabric Connectors.

branch network

Software-defined Branch (SD-Branch)

School districts can deliver secure networking to each and every campus within their district without slowing performance. Fortinet SD-Branch improves performance and protects campus networks.

single pane of glass

Single-Pane-of-Glass Management

Small IT teams are often responsible for managing networking, cybersecurity, and physical surveillance systems. Fortinet delivers a single-pane-of-glass management system to reduce complexity and control all of these functions in a unified console.

insider threat prevention

Insider Threat Prevention

Secure internal, east-west traffic by intelligently segmenting the network to quickly detect and contain threats with intent-based segmentation that is powered by FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs). Protect against accidental or malicious insider threats with user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) from FortiInsight, automate response with FortiDeceptor, and control who and what has access to the network.

threat intelligence

Proactive Threat Intelligence

The FortiGuard Labs research team collects and analyzes over 100 billion security events each day to develop global threat intelligence and better protect K-12 school districts. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that quickly learns and adapts, proactive threat intelligence is quickly distributed across the security infrastructure in real time.

security advisor

Industry Leader

Fortinet is an established security networking leader, proven by third-party tests and validations. Fortinet is recognized as a Leader in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Network Firewalls and has the best score in the NSS Labs Value Map for next-generation firewalls (NGFWs). Further, Fortinet has a wide range of E-rate-eligible products.

Digital Learning Infrastructure

K-12 school districts increasingly leverage digital tools to enhance learning experiences and support back-office functions. Many districts now rely on cloud-based services and must support an ever-growing number of mobile and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices that are entering the network.

Given the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) stored on these networks, the digital learning infrastructure requires a solution that delivers true end-to-end integration. The Fortinet Security Fabric, backed by the E-rate-eligible FortiGate next-generation firewall (NGFW), enables K-12 school districts to secure their entire digital learning infrastructure across the entire attack surface.

FortiManager delivers complete visibility on a single pane of glass, while FortiAnalyzer provides centralized policy management. Additionally, FortiSIEM provides security information and event management (SIEM) for automated response and remediation to prevent breaches before they occur. It uses a leading security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) engine to respond to threats by leveraging tools from a school’s existing environment.

The Security Fabric provides school districts with complete protection for both north-south and east-west traffic, with integrations that protect every network edge from endpoint to cloud. In addition, digital infrastructures are protected against both malicious insiders and students who aim to access inappropriate services or areas of the network.

 

The Fortinet Security Fabric delivers a broad, integrated, and automated security architecture across the entire infrastructure from network edge to the cloud. FortiGate NGFWs utilize purpose-built cybersecurity processors to deliver top-rated protection, end-to-end visibility, centralized control, as well as high-performance inspection of clear-texted and encrypted traffic. FortiManager provides centralized management of Fortinet solutions, best practices compliance, and workflow automation for stronger breach protection. FortiAnalyzer provides analytics-powered security reporting and log management for stronger detection against breaches and known threats. FortiSIEM simplifies security information and event management by delivering visibility, automated response, and fast remediation in a single solution. The FortiAuthenticator identity and access management solution and FortiToken tokens grant access to users on a need-to-know basis. The FortiAuthenticator identity and access management solution and FortiToken tokens grant access to users on a need-to-know basis. FortiInsight user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) technology detects behavioral anomalies and noncompliant activity that may represent possible insider threats. FortiDeceptor complements a school district’s existing breach protection strategy by deceiving, exposing, and eliminating attacks originating from internal and external sources before real damage occurs. FortiClient strengthens endpoint security through integrated visibility, control, and proactive defense and enables schools to discover, monitor, and assess endpoint risks in real time. FortiCASB manages access to valuable cloud applications and data across multi-cloud deployments. FortiCWP evaluates and monitors cloud configurations, pinpoints misconfigurations, and analyzes traffic across cloud resources. FortiWeb web application firewall secures cloud-based resources by protecting against known and unknown threats, including sophisticated threats such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, buffer overflows, and DDoS attacks. FortiNAC provides visibility across the entire network and the ability to control access for all devices and users, including dynamic, automated responses. Fortinet Fabric-Ready partner Lightspeed provides filtering capabilities that keep students safe and focused when using school devices.
Digital Learning Infrastructure Security Fabric NGFW Management Analytics SIEM Authentication Token Insider Threats Deception Endpoint CASB Cloud Workload Web NAC Fabric Connectors for Filtering
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The Distributed District

Public school districts are often comprised of numerous campuses for elementary, middle, and high schools, and many private schools also host multiple locations. Each and every campus across the K-12 school district needs high-speed networking and security to efficiently deliver digital learning tools and support administrative efficiencies. Further, lean IT and security departments need to support the network needs across all campuses—schools rarely have dedicated on-site IT personnel.

A Fortinet Secure SD-Branch solution can provide individual schools in a district with strong internet connectivity and comes with built-in security to protect mobile and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices from threats. In addition, FortiGate Secure SD-WAN delivers a robust, integrated, and automated approach that helps constrained IT teams achieve centralized visibility, configuration, and security management needed across campuses. All of this can be achieved with minimal hardware and simple, zero-touch deployment.

Intent-based segmentation also applies consistent policies across dynamic network environments, ensuring students cannot stream movies, games, or other content at inappropriate times. Unified phone and voice communications can also be integrated as part of a complete security solution.

 

FortiGate Secure SD-WAN combines next-generation firewall (NGFW) security, advanced routing, and WAN optimization capabilities to deliver high performance and security in a unified offering. Fortinet SD-Branch enables school districts to converge their security and network access, extending the benefits of the Fortinet Security Fabric to their distributed campuses. It includes switching, wireless access, and network access control components. FortiInsight user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) technology detects behavioral anomalies and noncompliant activity that may represent possible insider threats. FortiDeceptor complements a school district’s existing breach protection strategy by deceiving, exposing, and eliminating attacks originating from internal and external sources before real damage occurs. Intent-based segmentation features in FortiGate enable intelligent segmentation of network and infrastructure assets regardless of location, enabling zero-trust inspection. FortiGate NGFWs utilize purpose-built cybersecurity processors to deliver top-rated protection, end-to-end visibility, centralized control, as well as high-performance inspection of clear-texted and encrypted traffic. FortiAnalyzer provides analytics-powered cybersecurity and log management to provide better detection against breaches. FortiManager supports network operations use cases for centralized management, best practices compliance, and workflow automation to provide better protection against breaches. FortiVoice systems provide complete call control and sophisticated communication features for efficient communications. FortiFone is a feature-rich experience with high-quality audio, dedicated keys for the most common features, and digitized screens.
The Distributed District Secure SD-WAN Fortinet SD-Branch Voice/Phone FortiInsight FortiDeceptor Intent-based Segmentation NGFW Logging/Reporting Centralized Management
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Campus Safety

A primary responsibility of every K-12 school district is ensuring the physical safety of students. This includes physical safety during school-sponsored activities and sports, as well as potential criminal activity on campus. Ensuring student safety requires a state-of-the-art surveillance and communication system that seamlessly integrates with the network.

Fortinet provides single-pane-of-glass management for both physical and cybersecurity functions so K-12 school districts can easily access all of their systems in one platform. Fortinet unified physical security and communications solutions include connected phones, speaker systems, and cameras and video surveillance recorders.

Video surveillance from Fortinet offers multiple streaming options that can deliver a live feed straight to a mobile device while providing an instant overview of a school’s security posture in one dashboard. In addition, emerging video technologies enable facial recognition and weapons detection, allowing schools to implement a proactive physical security posture.

 

FortiFone is a feature-rich experience with high quality audio, dedicated keys for the most common features, and digitized screens. FortiVoice systems provide complete call control and sophisticated communication features for efficient communications. FortiCamera offers a suite of secure, network-based video cameras to incorporate physical cybersecurity with network cybersecurity and bolster protection against cyber-physical attacks. FortiRecorder records footage from cybersecurity cameras with scheduled or manual recording and continuous or motion-activated activation.
Campus Safety FortiFone FortiVoice FortiCamera FortiRecorder
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Online Protection and Compliance

Given the amount of critical personally identifiable information (PII) stored on K-12 school district networks, along with the increasing number of students that need secure internet access during class, school districts must adhere to many compliance and regulation standards.

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) were enacted to ensure students cannot access inappropriate content and are protected from cyber threats. FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) deliver powerful web filtering and network segmentation to provide unified policies across dynamic network environments and meet these regulations.

Online safety is a top priority for parents of K-12 students, and regulations like CIPA and COPPA require robust web filtering and network segmentation. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliance is also a huge priority for K-12 schools. The Fortinet Security Fabric approach enables safety and compliance policies to be applied consistently across the network and for audit reporting to be automated.

FERPA protects student education records, and regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are designed to keep PII secure.

With FortiManager, IT teams gain a single pane of glass for management and reporting tools to ensure schools consistently meet compliance standards. In addition, FortiAnalyzer delivers analytics-powered security and log management for stronger breach detection, while the FortiSIEM security information and event management solution provides automated response and remediation to help prevent breaches before they occur.

 

FortiGate next-generation firewall (NGFW) appliances include built-in security processors to deliver top-rated protection and segmentation, along with visibility and control. FortiPresence ensures physical safety by tracking and monitoring devices by leveraging existing onsite Fortinet access points to detect each person’s smartphone Wi-Fi signal. FortiAP delivers secure, wireless access to distributed school offices and can be easily managed as a physical appliance or via the cloud. FortiClient strengthens endpoint security through integrated visibility, control, and proactive defense and enables school districts to discover, monitor, and assess endpoint risks in real time. FortiSIEM simplifies security information and event management by delivering visibility, automated response, and fast remediation in a single solution. FortiManager supports network operations use cases for centralized management, best practices compliance, and workflow automation to provide better protection against breaches. FortiAnalyzer provides analytics-powered cybersecurity and log management to provide better detection against breaches. FortiEDR provides endpoint protection, detection, and response capabilities in one solution, delivering advanced machine learning to strengthen edge security.
Student Online Safety and Compliance NGFW FortiPresence FortiAP FortiClient FortiSIEM FortiManager FortiAnalyzer FortiEDR
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