Cyber Security: Who You Gonna Call?

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Security | 0 comments

When you think of the targets of cyber crime, educational institutions don’t always make the top of the list. In this 3-part webinar series, Tim Hohman and Bruce Ward explained why schools not only should, but NEED to start being proactive with their cyber security practices.

Part 3: Who You Gonna Call?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a 9-1-1 for a cyber security breach, the best thing you can do is be prepared and call your managed service provider (MSP).  The final installment of this 3-part series: Who You Gonna Call, lays out all your options. After reading this recap you will be able to determine which practices work best for you.

The first step to being prepared is assessing your network and the data you are protecting. Being able to assess your data and budget appropriately to protect that data is crucial.

Don’t use $10 to protect $10M worth of data, and don’t use $10M to protect $10 worth of data. – Bruce Ward, Vice President of Business Strategy, Peters & Associates

One of the best ways to truly asses your security strategy is through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Security Framework. NIST is an excellent place to start because it puts equal emphasis on protection and reaction. There are 5 phases in the NIST Framework, but this blog will focus on the middle 3: Protect, Detect, and Respond.

NIST Cyber Security Framework


Before diving deep into the nitty-gritty, take some time to familiarize yourself with common threats such as ransomware and phishing. Trust us, these will come up later in the blog.


They say the best defense is a great offense. In the sports world that may be true, but when it comes to cyber security and education, the best defense is a TRUSTED defense. A great place to start is with the basics like firewalls and antivirus. While having the latest and greatest technologies at your finger tips is pretty cool, having a tried and true service is the best way to protect your network. That’s how Bruce and Tim came up with this maturity model:

Maturity Model

Whether you’re new to the world of cyber security or a seasoned veteran, there are ways everyone can improve. For example, upgrading your firewall and antivirus to a NextGen Firewall and a NextGen AV solution, respectively. Another way to upgrade your security is to ask your local MSP if they offer managed patching and backups. A well-executed patch management service will test and implement security updates expeditiously; while saving your team time and money. An effective managed backup service can provide optimal data recovery times, resiliency, and data security.


At the time of a cyber attack, we want to have systems in place that notify us of a breach as soon as possible. Especially when it comes to cyber security and education, the data being protected here is personal. Knowing what your environment looks like at homeostasis will greatly improve your ability to detect a breach before it gets out of control. The two approaches we see organizations take are reactive and proactive.

  1. Reactive: Let’s cut to the chase, you do not want to be the reactive organization. What we see with reactive organizations are that they are waiting until a breach occurs to do something. They typically have a one-step plan: Call Peters & Associates; and usually when that time comes, the issue at hand is a monster.
  2. Proactive: Typically, this group of organizations are from the former group. They have learned their lesson, consulted Peters, and developed a multi-step plan for when disaster strikes. We see these customers take advantage of managed security services, PLUS, they develop a  personalized Incident Response Plan.


Part of being prepared for an attack is knowing how you are going to react when disaster strikes. With an Incident Response Plan (IRP), roles and responsibilities are mapped out and planned. But having an IRP is not enough, you need to practice to ensure everyone knows what to do. This requires a candid conversation between departments and the development of a hierarchy of applications, systems, and data to prioritize. Knowing how you will notify teachers and staff, who will be the first to regain access, and if or when to notify parents are crucial points of discussion.

Watch the full “Cyber Security and Education: Who You Gonna Call” webinar below!

Follow along with the slide deck, here!

If you’re not sure where to start email us at We’re happy to help! If you prefer to chat it out, give us a call at 630.832.0075. To learn even more, check out our monthly “This Month in Cyber Security” webinar, register here.