In a significant move towards protecting cybersecurity in K-12 education, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has unveiled a voluntary pledge for K-12 Education Technology software manufacturers. This pledge aims to encourage companies to design products with enhanced security features from the ground up. Since its launch on September 1, the initiative has garnered commitments from six prominent K-12 software technology providers, including industry giants like PowerSchool, ClassLink, Clever, GG4L, Instructure, and D2L.
A Foundational Shift in K-12 Cybersecurity
CISA Director Jen Easterly emphasizes the importance of addressing K-12 cybersecurity at its core. By ensuring that schools and administrators have access to inherently secure technology and software, CISA aims to create a safer digital environment for educational institutions. The commitment from major industry players is a testament to their leadership and dedication to this critical cause.
What this Means: Strengthening Education, Safeguarding the Nation
The voluntary pledge by K-12 Education Technology software manufacturers, supported by CISA, marks a significant stride towards fortifying the United State’s educational landscape. By prioritizing cybersecurity at its core, this initiative not only ensures the safety of millions of students but also sets a new standard for the industry. With major players like PowerSchool and ClassLink at the forefront, the impact extends far beyond the educational sphere. It sends a clear message that cybersecurity is a collective responsibility that will transcend other areas as well. As education increasingly relies on technology, these commitments pave the way for a safer and more secure digital future for the entire nation.
The Three Pillars of the Pledge
Companies pledging their support commit to three fundamental principles. The first is ownership of customer security outcomes. This is the companies taking responsibility for the security of their products and services. The next is embracing radical transparency and accountability. This exhibits the company’s openness of wanting to create a transparent relationship between the companies and schools. However, their openness to be fully committed to being open and accountable about their security practices will create better relations in the long term standpoint.
The third pillar is leadership prioritizing secure technology. This initiative not only includes a commitment to these principles but it also outlines specific, publicly measurable outcomes that companies will strive to achieve, aligning with the Secure by Design principles.
PowerSchool Steps Up
PowerSchool, a leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education, has enthusiastically joined this initiative. CEO Hardeep Gulati reaffirms the company’s mission to personalize education for every student, starting with a steadfast commitment to safeguarding the 45 million students they serve in the U.S. annually. This includes investing in cybersecurity and defending districts against an astonishing one billion cyber-attacks each year. As part of this commitment, PowerSchool will provide free and subsidized security-as-a-service resources to all U.S. schools and districts.
ClassLink Joins the Cause
ClassLink, a leading provider of identity and access management products for education, is also making strides in bolstering cybersecurity. The company has pledged its support for the Secure by Design cybersecurity initiative, demonstrating a commitment to providing secure-by-design and secure-by-default products. ClassLink already meets several obligations outlined in the pledge’s core principles, reflecting its ongoing dedication to security in education. By standing with the Department of Education and CISA, ClassLink sends a clear message: privacy and security are paramount in the digital learning environment.
A Unified Effort for Safer Learning
These commitments from PowerSchool and ClassLink, alongside CISA’s groundbreaking initiative, mark a pivotal moment in the quest for enhanced cybersecurity in K-12 education. By prioritizing security at every level, these companies are not only safeguarding millions of students but also setting a new standard for the industry. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it is reassuring to see these industry leaders step up to the plate, ensuring that education remains a secure and thriving environment for all.
A Glimpse into the Future
The pledge and the commitments of industry leaders like PowerSchool and ClassLink herald a future where cybersecurity is an integral part of education. We can anticipate a landscape where students, teachers, and administrators navigate more digitally with confidence and trust. Schools will become fortresses of learning, shielded from cyber threats by secure-by-design technologies. This initiative will likely inspire further innovation in educational technology, fostering an ecosystem that not only equips students with knowledge but also with the skills to navigate the digital world securely. As more stakeholders join this cause, the future of education promises to be not only technologically advanced but also secure.
For more information about this voluntary pledge and to join the cause, visit cisa.gov/k-12-education-technology-secure-design-pledge.