Nov 02 2022

District Expands Cybersecurity Training with New Service

Chandler Unified School District in Arizona is one of the first schools to implement Fortinet’s free security training service.

Chandler Unified School District, Arizona’s third-largest district, is partnering with Fortinet to train staff members on cybersecurity threats and best practices. Announced at the White House National Cyber Workforce and Education summit in July, Fortinet’s service is free to school districts to help build a more security-conscious K–12 workforce.

The company adapted a security training service they already offered and made it education-specific, says Rob Rashotte, vice president of global training and technical field enablement at Fortinet. “We’re working hand in hand with the first few schools that are adopting it to make sure it’s as successful as possible.”

Ongoing, Personalized Training Builds a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness

Districts don’t need to be Fortinet customers to take advantage of the company’s new service.

“It’s completely stand-alone, and it’s Software as a Service. So, for much smaller districts that don’t have a lot of resources, there’s not a lot involved to get it up and running,” says Rashotte.

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The service will be offered to schools in a catalog format that allows district leaders to choose trainings that will best suit their staff’s security needs.

“It’s about creating a culture and keeping cybersecurity top of mind on an ongoing basis. That’s why we’ve developed it with that menu, where organizations can pick and choose instead of just firing a whole bunch of training at their employees once a year,” he adds.

Chandler USD is in the process of rolling out the new training service to employees. “Something in Chandler that we had been talking about was ‘How do we shore up our practices and educate our staff?’ That’s a key component to working on our cybersecurity posture,” says Chandler USD CTO Colleen Flannery. “We’re really excited to be one of the first districts in the nation to be a part of this.”

Data Helps District Leaders Target Beneficial Training Topics

Because Fortinet’s service allows districts to choose from a menu of training sessions on a variety of topics, Chandler USD leaders developed a plan to determine which trainings they would share with their staff.

“We plan on using a dual approach,” Flannery says. “We need to know what a three-year plan looks like so the teachers don’t have to encounter the same content year after year, and instead we’re evolving that content with their growth. We’re also using our data points to determine where our weaknesses are so we can use the content to educate and inform.”

DIVE DEEPER: Find out how professional development can help schools with teacher retention.

Flannery says the district is planning to include training about phishing and social engineering.

“A high percentage of the bad actors are using phishing to expose and extend vulnerabilities. So, using the data and the research that’s out there helps us really target training to where we’re seeing the attacks happen,” she says.

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