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Challenges and Opportunities of Cybersecurity Positions in K-12 Organizations
Explored in CoSN-SETDA Resource

Report Provides Strategies for Addressing and Staffing Cybersecurity Within School Systems

Washington, D.C. (October 6, 2022)CoSN released a new resource for K-12 schools and districts seeking to address the need for advanced cybersecurity skill sets within their technology teams. This report was commissioned by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) as part of the work of its Cybersecurity & Privacy Collaborative and was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Most school and district information technology units have positions designed to enable and support devices and connectivity, but not cybersecurity. Only a fifth (21%) of districts have a full-time equivalent employee dedicated to network security. Yet cybersecurity represents a comprehensive challenge facing all staff in K-12 organizations and requires the creation of a culture of cybersecurity within each K-12 organization. The Cybersecurity Positions Project paper identifies and addresses several strategies for staffing cybersecurity within school systems.


“Cybersecurity is the top concern of district IT leaders. Yet, when we ask if districts have the human capacity to address cybersecurity, they clearly do not. This important publication helps school system leaders think in new ways and outlines concrete strategies to address this crisis of securing our networking and protecting student and employee data,” said Keith R. Krueger, CEO of CoSN.


“This is the most comprehensive look at K-12 cybersecurity staffing to-date. This report provides thoughtful guidance for districts of all sizes and represents the reality that schools need dedicated cybersecurity expertise and broader responsibility for secure practices,” said Jason Bailey, Director of Innovation and Design, SETDA.


K-12 schools and districts seeking to address the need for advanced cybersecurity skill sets within their technology teams require a shift in staffing across the technology units that support networks, data and systems in K-12 institutions. Covered in this paper, the strategies to achieve this include:

  • Developing focused cybersecurity positions;
  • Incorporating cybersecurity duties and responsibilities in all existing K-12 technology positions, leveraging cross-district collaboration and/or managed services to augment cybersecurity staffing; and
  • Expanding the expectation that cybersecurity is a responsibility of all members of the K-12 education community, just as physical security and safety are considered organization-wide responsibilities.

Download the full Cybersecurity Positions Project paper here. For additional cybersecurity resources, visit www.cosn.org/edtech-topics/cybersecurity/ or setda.info/collection-cybersecurity.

About CoSN
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community best practices, and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education. cosn.org 

About SETDA
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal association representing U.S. state and territorial educational technology and digital learning leaders. Through a broad array of programs and advocacy, SETDA builds member capacity and engages partners to empower the education community in leveraging technology for learning, teaching, and school operations. setda.org

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