School Facility Management, Cyber-Security & Information

School Facility Management, Cyber-Security & Information

Sadly, the country’s second largest school district -- LA Unified -- recently suffered a massive ransomware attack.

An article in the Los Angeles Times stated that the computer system that was most compromised was in the facilities division, putting private information from construction and maintenance contractors especially at risk. Contractors typically file W-9 forms, which include Social Security numbers, with the district.

Unfortunately, these attacks are in the news all the time. Cyber-security is a critical emergency preparedness issue in the facility management world right now.

The President of the United States and Congress declared October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month, helping individuals protect themselves online as threats to technology and confidential data become more commonplace.

Key action steps that everyone should take, according to The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, include:

  • Think Before You Click: Recognize and Report Phishing: If a link looks a little off, think before you click. It could be an attempt to get sensitive information or install malware. 
  • Update Your Software: Don't delay -- If you see a software update notification, act promptly. Better yet, turn on automatic updates.
  • Use Strong Passwords: Use passwords that are long, unique, and randomly generated. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. A passwords manager will encrypt passwords securing them for you!
  • Enable Multi-Factor Authentication: You need more than a password to protect your online accounts, and enabling MFA makes you significantly less likely to get hacked.

One thing we can add to the unfolding narrative about ransomware and cyber-attacks is having your facility information safely available in the cloud, accessible to mobile devices -- to mitigate risks to business continuity.

ARC Facilities can help keep facility information separate and available as schools, hospitals and other facilities deal with issues like this.

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