Independent Schools: Data Breach Response Plans Are Essential Do You Have One? Is It Sufficient?

Cybercriminals will go after any susceptible target, and independent schools are on their list. Schools across the nation increasingly experience attacks that aim to steal personal information of students and staff or to outright extort money from the school that is otherwise meant to help our youth blossom and prosper. It’s an alarming situation that seems poised to get worse before it gets better.

Why Your School is At Risk

Schools are enticing targets for cybercriminals because of the data that they gather and harbor on their students.

Student data are especially valuable to identity thieves, said Rod Russeau, the director of technology and information services for Community High School District 99, near Chicago. That’s because credit checks are rarely conducted on children, so the fraud may not be discovered for years.

“A 5-year-old today, if their information is stolen, maybe 20 years from now, they’ll find out that they own a property in Las Vegas,” Russeau said.

With the rise of connected networks in modern learning environments and with increased reliance on digital devices throughout the pandemic and likely beyond, schools have created multiple entry points for hackers to try to exploit.

The increased prevalence of technology is a double-edged sword in that the same modern adaptations that have expanded educational access for students have also made their data networks more susceptible to cyber-attack. And if you’re not already aware of the moral standing of cybercriminals, let’s just say that they don’t care whose welfare is at stake or what aspect of society that they adversely impact in the long run. They’re after data and the potential payday that it presents.

Cyber Attacks Affecting Schools

Schools of all sizes experience cyber-attacks that are similar to those that businesses and government entities suffer.  Attackers can steal data, hold a school as a digital hostage, and cause disruptions in learning and everyday activities. The frequency with which these attacks occur is increasing, and over 1,180 schools were affected to some degree in 2021. The recovery costs and lasting effects of these incidents are significant, with some schools spending millions of dollars in ransom and defensive measures in attempts to solve the issues that these threats pose.

The Importance of a Data Security and Response Plan

A data security and an associated response plan are paramount to have in place to prepare for these unfortunate and increasingly inevitable cyber-attacks. These plans aim to ensure that your school is prepared to respond quickly and to act accordingly when dealing with a data breach or other cyber-attack. A thorough response plan is necessary to limit the scope of the attacks and the effects on students, staff, and access to learning.

While it’s not possible to prevent all attacks, it is possible to establish adequate safeguards and a plan for restoration that limits the consequences of the incident. However, not all response plans are created equal, and having an inadequate plan in place can leave your school severely underprepared when the unfortunate does occur.

Not all Protection is Created Equal

LibertyID Business Solutions is a leader in providing pre-breach planning and post-breach response. With years of experience providing fully managed identity theft restoration solutions to families, individuals, and businesses, we are well versed and highly skilled at addressing all angles that schools require to stay prepared.

Proactive Elements

Data Security Planning and Response Planning

    • Written Information Security Plan (WISP)
    • Sample Policies
    • Employee Training
    • Resources

Dark Web Monitoring 

    • Automatically identifies all known email addresses at a domain that have been included in discovered dark web Breaches.

Business Identity Fraud Remediation 

    • A dedicated Business Fraud Manager who is a Certified Financial Crimes Investigator (CFCI) and fraud investigator– will support any fraud event including business ID theft and refund fraud.

Employees Identity Fraud Restoration Services 

    • Covers all current faculty and staff along with their family members for all areas of identity fraud no matter where it occurs in their life.

Included Responsive Elements

Regulatory Response and Client Notification 

    • Dedicated Data Breach Response Attorney
    • Dedicated Rapid Response Team
    • In-Depth Assessments to Determine Compliance and Notification
    • Data Breach Notification Response Plan

Customer Identity Fraud Restoration Services

    • Covers the school’s students (past and present) in the event of a data breach of the business with fully managed identity fraud restoration services.

Our multi-faceted approach provides clients with everything that they need to best plan for a response before, during, and after a data breach. This far-reaching method equips your school with all the necessary tools and assistance to navigate an incident as effectively as possible.

Comments about our service provided by ASIC members:

“We’ve found great value in the investment we’ve made in LibertyID’s services, and the net result is peace of mind for our employees.” – Janet Refior, Chief Operations and Financial Officer, Fountain Valley School

“I offer my highest recommendation to LibertyID because of my personal experience and from the services they provided to our school.”  – Michael Imperi, Head of School, Vail Mountain School

“We are very happy that we can offer our employees LibertyID’s fully managed identity theft restoration services to take care of the tasks needed and give them peace of mind.” – Rick Getz, MBA, Business Manager/CFO, Denver Jewish Day School

LibertyID offers a cost-effective timesaving benefit that is available to our employees when faced with the complexities and stress of identity theft and recovery.” – Karen Kumar, Human Resources Director, Shining Mountain Waldorf School, Boulder CO 

Please contact Sandi Holton ( for more information or to sign up for this valuable service for your school.