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Don’t let the cyber grinch ruin your winter break: Project Cybersafe Schools protects small school districts in the US


4 min read
Don’t Let the Cyber Grinch Ruin your Winter Break: Project Cybersafe Schools protects small school districts in the US

As the last school bell rings before winter break, one thing school districts should keep in mind is that during the winter break, schools can become particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks as the reduced staff presence and extended downtime create an environment conducive to security lapses. Criminal actors make their move when organizations are most vulnerable: on weekends and holiday breaks. With fewer personnel on-site, routine monitoring and response to potential threats may be delayed, providing cybercriminals with a window of opportunity. Schools store sensitive student and staff data, including personally identifiable information, financial records, and confidential academic information, and therefore consequences of a successful cyberattack can be severe. It is imperative that educational institutions implement robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard their digital infrastructure.

If you are a small public school district in the United States, Project Cybersafe Schools is here to help. Don’t let the Cyber Grinch ruin your winter break.

The impact of Project Cybersafe Schools thus far

In August of this year, as part of the White House Back to School Safely: K-12 Cybersecurity Summit, Cloudflare announced Project Cybersafe Schools to help support eligible K-12 public school districts with a package of Zero Trust cybersecurity solutions — for free, and with no time limit.

The response from school districts across the United States exceeded our expectations. We have had inquiries from over 200 school districts in over 30 states and Guam. Over the past few months, we have onboarded dozens of qualifying school districts into the program. As a result, over 60,000 students, teachers, and staff are protected by Cloudflare’s cloud email security to protect against a broad spectrum of threats including Business Email Compromise, multichannel phishing, credential harvesting, and other targeted attacks. These school districts are also receiving protection against Internet threats with DNS filtering by preventing users from reaching unwanted or harmful online content like ransomware or phishing sites. There are more than 9,000 small public school districts across the United States with fewer than 2,500 students. All of those school districts are eligible for Project Cybersafe Schools (for free, and with no time limit — see below for all the details), and we want to help as many as possible.

Since we launched the program, the White House has continued to amplify awareness around the risks for schools as well as the opportunities school districts have to protect themselves. Cloudflare hosted a series of live onboarding sessions at the start of the program and also created a Cybersafe School Resource Hub for school districts to learn more about the program and submit an inquiry.

What our participants are saying about the program

Here’s what a few Project Cybersafe Schools have to say about the impact of the program on small school districts.

“Project Cybersafe Schools has been incredibly helpful, especially for school districts with smaller enrollments, to provide resources, tools and information that otherwise might be out of grasp. Often, these smaller districts have individuals with many responsibilities and cybersecurity may not always be at the forefront. The tools Cloudflare offers as part of the White House focus to strengthen Cybersecurity across the K-12 spectrum allow us greater visibility into the threats experienced through E-Mail as well as protect our devices by layering DNS-based filtering on top of our existing environment to protect against threats that may come through via ransomware or phishing sites. Being able to leverage multiple layers of security helps us be more robust in protecting our student and teacher devices and ensure our learning environment is successful, safe and productive in the current digital landscape.”  
- Randy Saeks, Network Manager, Glencoe School District 35, Glencoe, Illinois
“Quitman School District was excited to add another layer of security for our staff and students with Cloudflare Project Cybersafe Schools. Living in a low income, rural community, we were grateful for the opportunity to add a world-class free service to our school’s network architecture. Partnering with Cloudflare allowed us to continue to modernize and strengthen our security measures and protect our staff and students from a wide variety of threats. This implementation was quick and easy, and we were ecstatic that there was no expiration date for this service.  We were amazed to see that Cloudflare caught nearly 4,000 malicious emails in the first month of implementation!  We are confident that Cloudflare will continue to keep our district and infrastructure safe from harmful threats.”
- Matt Champion, Technology Coordinator, Quitman School District, Quitman, Mississippi

What Zero Trust services are available?

Eligible K-12 public school districts in the United States will have access to a package of enterprise-level Zero Trust cybersecurity services for free and with no time limit – there is no catch and no underlying obligations. Eligible organizations will benefit from:

  • Email Protection: Safeguards inboxes with cloud email security by protecting against a broad spectrum of threats including malware-less Business Email Compromise, multichannel phishing, credential harvesting, and other targeted attacks.
  • DNS Filtering: Protects against Internet threats with DNS filtering by preventing users from reaching unwanted or harmful online content like ransomware or phishing sites and can be deployed to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Who can apply?

To be eligible, Project Cybersafe Schools participants must be:

  • K-12 public school districts located in the United States
  • Up to 2,500 students in the district

If you think your school district may be eligible, we welcome you to contact us to learn more.  Please visit our Project Cybersafe Schools Resource Hub.

For schools or school districts that do not qualify for Project Cybersafe Schools, Cloudflare has other packages available with educational pricing. If you do not qualify for Project Cybersafe Schools, but are interested in our educational services, please contact us at [email protected].

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