On April 10, 2024, the Cybersecurity Coalition for Education marked its first anniversary, celebrating a significant year of growth and achievement in enhancing cybersecurity across the educational sector. Launched in April 2023, this influential group has been keen on equipping schools with robust cybersecurity frameworks and tools to defend against the escalating cyber threats faced by educational institutions today.

The coalition was originally formed by a collaboration of leading edtech industry organizations—ClassLink, ENA by Zayo, and SecurityStudio—determined to forge a resource that was not just innovative but accessible for K-12 schools. As cybersecurity threats have become more sophisticated and pervasive, the need for such supports has never been more critical.

Within just twelve months, this dynamic initiative made commendable progress by introducing several key resources geared towards enhancing the cybersecurity posture of schools. At the core of their offerings is a K-12 focused Cybersecurity Rubric. This self-assessment toolkit allows institutions to measure their cybersecurity readiness, helping them identify vulnerabilities and areas needing improvement. To support this, the coalition has also released a 2.0 version of the Rubric, aligning it with the latest updates in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, a gold standard in the cybersecurity field.

Recognizing the need for skilled personnel to navigate and implement these assessments, the coalition also launched a professional certification program. This program trains candidates to become Certified Cybersecurity Rubric Evaluators (CCREs). With over 300 CCREs now certified, schools worldwide can access expert guidance and support in evaluating their cybersecurity setups. This initiative was supported with discounted rates to make the program more accessible.

The growth of the coalition’s impact is further evidenced by the expansion of its advisory council. What started as a group of involved experts from various sectors has now grown to include over 100 professionals. These members not only collaborate to refine and expand the resources but also play an active role in ongoing training and support functions, facilitating a communal sharing of knowledge and experience that enhances individual and collective cybersecurity acumen.

To bolster its resource base and outreach, the coalition welcomed two new contributing members this year—Caetra.io, a cybersecurity consulting firm with a focus on educational clients, and CDWG, a provider of tailored technology solutions for schools. These partnerships are paramount as they bring additional expertise and resources to the coalition, enabling broader support and more comprehensive solutions for the participating schools.

The significance of the coalition’s work cannot be overstated at a time when educational institutions are increasingly subject to cyber attacks. By making sophisticated cybersecurity assessment tools and expert knowledge readily accessible, the Cybersecurity Coalition for Education is not only helping schools to mitigate risks but is also contributing to a wider culture of cybersecurity awareness and preparedness in the education sector.

This Coalition’s approach highlights an essential model of proactive, collaborative defense in cyberspace, showcasing what can be achieved when organizations unite with common goals for societal benefit. As it moves forward, the Cybersecurity Coalition for Education continues to invite educational institutions, technology leaders, and cybersecurity experts to join its ranks, expanding its reach and refining its strategies to safeguard the future of education in the digital age. For further details on this initiative or to become involved, individuals and institutions can visit the coalition’s website at cybersecurityrubric.org.