Northwest ISD board members received an update on the district’s long-range technology plan during their regular meeting June 24.

A presentation by Chief Technology Officer Cara Carter outlined the district's technology plan for 2024-29. Carter identified items district officials can expect to see in the plan, including cybersecurity measures.

“There is a lot of intention, strategic thinking, expertise and innovation that went into developing the plan altogether,” Carter said.

The details

One of the key components of the plan is cybersecurity. Carter said there are multiple layers of security used to protect the district’s cyber system, and guard students and their data.

Carter highlighted several recent cybersecurity breaches that have happened in the education sector. They include:
  • 24,000 students disrupted during state testing in Texas school districts
  • 1,619 cybersecurity incidents across the U.S. from 2016-22
  • 37.6 million data records exposed in U.S. schools since 2015
Zooming in

Carter then showed the number of cybersecurity issues Northwest ISD has faced in the last 90 days. They include:
  • 63,490 cyber attacks
  • 38,920 intrusion events
  • 9,062 denied authentications
Carter pointed out the intrusion events are launched from various continents. She said, one year ago, Europe was the origin of most of these types of attacks. This year, North America took the top spot with 31,734 events.

“[Cyber attacks] continue to be a challenge that we are constantly developing strategies against,” Carter said.

A second key component of the 2024-29 plan centers around data governance. Carter said having a strong data governance policy is critical due to the changing nature of how data works in cyber systems.

“I think back to 10 or 15 years ago, and data would sit in a system, and that’s where it remained,” Carter said. “Now, it truly is a vessel that’s constantly moving in and out of multiple systems.”

Carter said the goal is to link new strategies in the plan to educational outcomes. She said the plan has the following components that will help her and her team reach that goal:
  • Forward-thinking initiatives
  • Educator professional development
  • Tech-powered learning engagement
  • Connected community
“It is critical that we remain proactive and agile for whatever we face over the next five years,” Carter said.