$ 383 to consider network security upgrades, iPad purchases

October 5 — The Manhattan-Ogden School Board will discuss purchasing a network security system on Wednesday.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Robinson Education Center.

The board will consider purchasing updated digital network security programming from CDW-G of Chicago, Illinois for $ 138,005. Agenda documents indicate effort by district technical staff to strengthen security against malware and ransomware attacks due to “the increase in the number of malicious actors who can cause problems with little or no technical knowledge “. The district would pay for the program with its annual software budget and upgrade the network security system already in place.

This topic appears on the district’s agenda just days after Pottawatomie County officials announced they had paid a ransom to hackers who attacked county government computer systems and took them offline. for about two weeks. Pottawatomie County officials paid hackers $ 71,250 and $ 356.25 in currency exchange fees to facilitate payment in e-currency; the hackers demanded a ransom of $ 1 million, county officials said.

Board members will also learn more about a proposed purchase of 500 new iPads and 200 additional Internet hotspots to check out at schools in the district. District agenda documents indicate that administrators of $ 383 have applied for a grant for Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) through the American Rescue Plan Act. As of September 24, the district had received $ 193,563 in ECF money to pay for Apple, Inc.’s new iPads and T-Mobile hotspots. The district will provide $ 5,000 for a wireless network extension for Maryland-based education telecommunications provider Kajeet.

This purchase continues the school district’s plan to provide digital devices to students at a 1: 1 ratio. The board approved the 1: 1 plan last summer at the height of the pandemic. In March 2020, district officials gathered information from parents and staff about their access to technology and high-speed internet. According to the survey, about 775 students did not have access to digital devices, while about 525 students did not have adequate Internet access, out of about 6,300 students across the district.

Prior to the meeting, the council will hold an executive session regarding school safety at 6:15 pm No further details on the executive session were provided in the district agenda.

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