BAY MINETTE – The Baldwin County Board of Education has hired CMA Technology Solutions to stop cyber attacks that have plagued the system in recent months.During its January meeting, the …
BAY MINETTE – The Baldwin County Board of Education has hired CMA Technology Solutions to stop cyber attacks that have plagued the system in recent months.
During its January meeting, the Baldwin County Board of Education approved a service agreement with CMA Technology Solutions for Arctic Wolf service. According to the agreement, Arctic Wolf will “continuously monitor and improve Baldwin County Board of Education computer networks and servers’ cyber security posture while preventing, detecting, analyzing and responding to cybersecurity incidents.”
The service costs $304,185 annually and will be funded from ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) III funds. These funds, established as part of the Education Stabilization Fund in the CARES Act, help address the impact COVID-19 has had on elementary and secondary schools across the nation.
“I think that everybody realizes the complexities that COVID has brought to our jobs on a daily basis, but this has also been compounded by cyberattacks that we’ve seen in the last three to five months,” said Chief Technology Officer Homer Coffman.
Coffman said that over the Christmas holiday, the Baldwin County school system was one of the victims of a ransomware attack on Ultimate Kronos Group, which disrupted the payrolls of thousands of employers across the nation. He said multiple departments worked over the break to restore data and to ensure employees were paid.
As of Jan. 20, Coffman said the system was back completely at 100% and the school system had gotten the data back.
“Cyberattacks and ransomware attacks are in the increase,” Coffman said. “And according to the FBI, we are in the top five candidates for getting hit being in a K-12 environment, and the reason for that is we have big pipes and a lack of security.”
Coffman said the service agreement with CMA Technology Solutions would increase security features within Baldwin County and protect students’ and employees’ data.
“They’re providing the service of looking at our logs that generate millions of transactions over a daily basis,” Coffman said. “In case a ransomware attack occurs, you notify the FBI, but they’re just going to look at how the threat was generated, they’re not going to help us restore the data. So, this agreement is also to help bring in experts to restore the data and make sure that we can continue on as an entity.”