The Wichita school board’s sudden expenditure for an internet protection service this week was in response to recent attacks against the district’s system, the board president said Tuesday.
“We’re getting intermittent attacks where they (perpetrators) flood our internet – overload our internet with data – which causes outages,” Mike Rodee said.
“This is a way to monitor it and then redirect those types of things so we don’t have downtime on our internet.”
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Officials said the additional protection is aimed at preventing service disruptions. Schools throughout the district have experienced “intermittent internet issues,” including outages, over the past week, said district spokeswoman Susan Arensman.
District leaders initially were hesitant to share details about the contract – approved without discussion as part of the board’s consent agenda – citing concerns about internet security.
When pressed Tuesday, Rodee, the board president, said the additional expense was necessary to keep the district’s massive computer system protected and operational.
“It irritates everybody and it’s frustrating when the internet doesn’t work,” he said. “We just assume it’s supposed to work.”
Over the past several years, school districts have had to step up network security to protect their computer infrastructure and meet the demands of web-based learning platforms.
In 2015, the Wichita school district was the victim of a hacking attempt that prompted officials to disable its Synergy student information system for more than a week. The system – along with its corresponding programs, ParentVue and StudentVue – manages student grades, attendance, emergency contacts and other information.