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How IBM and schools worldwide collaborated to strengthen cybersecurity

By Justina Nixon-Saintil | Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Chief Impact Officer
April 24, 2024

Cybercriminals have been carrying out cyberattacks against schools and other academic institutions for years. According to the 2024 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, the education sector...

Cybercriminals have been carrying out cyberattacks against schools and other academic institutions for years. According to the 2024 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, the education sector continues to persist amongst the top targeted industries by cybercriminals, who exploit the schools’ weak security posture to execute cyberattacks for malicious gains. This is why, for schools seeking to boost their cyber resilience, these grants can be a game-changer.

IBM’s education and volunteerism programs are at the epicenter of our work and are foundational to our commitment to drive equitable impact. The IBM Education Security Preparedness Grant was created to help schools proactively prepare for and respond to the growing threat of cyberattacks against schools. Over three years, IBM has provided USD 13 million in in-kind contributions to help K-12 public schools and educational institutions across the world help build cybersecurity resiliency. Faculty and students have also benefited from free training in AI and cybersecurity through enhanced access to IBM SkillsBuild.

We extend our congratulations to the latest grant recipients

Most recently, IBM has awarded in-kind grants of USD 500,000 each to six school districts in the United States and institutions in Brazil, Canada, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia. 

As one of our past recipients, the City of Dublin Education and Training Board, enthusiastically expressed, “The most significant benefit for our organization from participating in the IBM Education Security Preparedness Grant program was the valuable learning experience it provided for our organization. Working alongside IBM, we gained access to their extensive expertise and resources, empowering our community to address potential cybersecurity threats effectively. This collaboration has not only strengthened our digital defenses but also fostered a culture of continuous learning and growth in cybersecurity.”

Congratulations to Jefferson County School District (Colorado), Cherry Creek School District (Colorado), Meriden Public Schools (Connecticut), Savannah-Chatham County (Georgia), DeKalb Community Unit School District (Illinois), Newton Public Schools (Massachusetts), Obras, First Nations Technology Council, Maarif Education, and Shining Hope for Communities for their dedication to enhancing security in education. I hope these stories inspire you, and together, we can collaborate to better prepare for cyber-attacks.

IBM volunteers strengthen schools’ cyber defenses

We also recognize the contributions of our security colleagues and IBM volunteers through the IBM Service Corps. IBM volunteers have used their professional skills to help schools prepare and respond to cyber threats. The engagements include the creation of incident response plans and ransomware playbooks, programs to help address the need for updating operating systems.  The efforts also include strategic communication plans to use in response to cyber incidents, and training and digital credentials through IBM SkillsBuild on topics including AI and cybersecurity.

Learn more about our social impact programs at ibm.com/impact.

 
 

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