IBM grants a total of $5 million in kind to strengthen schools’ cybersecurity readiness

Selected grant recipients in Ireland, United Arab Emirates and California, Indiana, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire and Virginia

October 24, 2022

ARMONK, NY, October 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As schools become more reliant on technology, ransomware attacks on schools are on the rise. To help schools around the world prepare for and proactively respond to cyberattacks, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the first eight recipients of the 2022 IBM Education Security Preparedness Grants, totaling $5 million in services in kind. Each grant will sponsor IBM Service Corps volunteers to respond to the cybersecurity resilience of selected school districts.

IBM Corporation logo.  (PRNewsfoto/IBM)

As the FBI, DHS CISA, and MS-ISCA anticipate an increase in cyberattacks on schools in the 2022/2023 school year, schools are preparing for potential attacks and the significant costs that come with them. As cybercriminals continue to see schools as prime targets, IBM’s 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report* found that the cost of a data breach is on average $3.86 million for educational institutions. While the report found that 49% of data breaches experienced by the industry were caused by a malicious attack, nearly 30% are due to human error, highlighting the need for proper training and education in cybersecurity in schools.

The IBM Education Security Preparedness Grants program, now in its second year, has received more than 120 applications from schools across the United States and will award grants to six school districts. This year, the program is also expanding overseas with grant recipients in Ireland and the United Arab Emirates announced today, and with recipients in Costa Rica and Brazil to be announced at a later date.

The 2022 IBM Education Security Readiness Grant recipients are:

  • Dublin City Teacher Training Board – Ireland
  • Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence – UAE
  • Cupertino Union School District – Sunnyvale, California
  • Against Rossville. School district – Rossville, IN
  • east china School district – East China, MI
  • Newburgh Greater City School District – Newburgh, NY
  • Goffstown School district – Goffstown, NH
  • Prince William County Public schools – Manassas, Virginia

“Ransomware operators are increasingly turning their attention to schools, putting more pressure on these institutions to prioritize their cybersecurity. Cyberattacks on schools do not just affect schools themselves, as the consequences ripple through to students and their families, creating a very tangible effect on their communities,” said Charles Henderson, Global Managing Partner and Head of IBM Security X-Force. “We are proud to be able to support schools through the through this initiative, now in its second year, by helping to fill critical gaps in security resources, planning and preparedness.”

The grant applications IBM has received have shed light on schools’ levels of cybersecurity awareness, preparedness and training, confirming that there is still a growing need for improved cybersecurity education and skills. security in all sectors and in the world.

Key findings from the applications included:

  • Targets of cyberattacks – One in four candidates experienced a cybersecurity breach or ransomware attack, indicating that cybercriminals are taking advantage of the industry’s security constraints.
  • Lack of preparation – The majority of school districts report not having a cybersecurity plan in place and having received no cybersecurity training, which increases the security risk posed by human error.
  • Lack of resources – Only 20% of districts have staff dedicated to cybersecurity.

Now in its second year, this program has already benefited schools across the country. Barrett PuschusDirector of Information Technology at Brevard Public Schools and one of six recipients of the 2021 Education Security Readiness Grant, said, “Before this grant, we had a complete lack of confidence in our cybersecurity. . The IBM team came and showed us how to create a cybersecurity strategy and plan for contingencies based on our needs. We are now optimistic about our position in cybersecurity thanks to the help of IBM. The IBM team was populated by top experts and our team greatly benefited from all of their knowledge and experience. If you have data and systems worth protecting, like all schools, this program is worth it.”

IBM Service Corps volunteers should work with schools to help them prepare for and proactively respond to cyber threats. Depending on each school’s needs, engagements can include creating incident response plans, ransomware playbooks, technology updates, cybersecurity training for school communities, and more.

“We are excited to launch this program for the second consecutive year as part of IBM’s corporate social responsibility initiatives to help schools strengthen their security postures in response to growing threats in the education space,” said declared Patrice Key-Rhone, Global Director of Employee Giving and Volunteering at IBM. “At IBM, we are committed to supporting schools around the world through our education and volunteer programs to help create an equitable impact.”

About IBM security
IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, backed by world-renowned IBM Security X-Force® research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world’s largest security research, development, and delivery organizations, monitors more than 150 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries, and has been awarded more than 10,000 security patents in the world. For more information, please check @IBMSecurityon Twitter, or visitIBM Security Intelligence Blog.

IBM Corporate Social Responsibility
IBM’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives enable IBM’s technology and talent to meet societal challenges at scale. Pro bono consulting initiatives such as IBM Service Corps, which demonstrate the power of technology when paired with humanity, empower employees to help communities with economic development, education, security , durability, etc. To learn more about IBM’s CSR and company-wide Good Tech initiatives, visit

IBM Service Corps deploys teams of IBM volunteers around the world who complete weeks-long pro bono consulting assignments to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of communities, helping them apply technology and related know-how involving projects that touch on education, environmental sustainability, and public health and safety. Since 2008, IBM Service Corps has engaged more than 4,000 employees in teams to undertake 456 projects in 54 countries.

* Cost of a Data Breach 2022 report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, sponsored and analyzed by IBM


Estefania Sanchez
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