Report: Network Security an 'Urgent Concern,' Needs E-rate Support
Network security in schools and libraries is both urgent and deserving of funding through the federal E-rate program, according to the latest E-rate Trends Report, released today by E-rate services and support firm Funds for Learning.
According to the latest survey, which included responses from 2,164 E-rate applicants, network security is a serious concern. More than three-quarters (76%) said network security is urgent, and an overwhelming 97% said network security should qualify for support through E-rate.
E-rate is the FCC program, administered by the Universal Service Administrative Co., that supports schools and libraries with discounts of 20% to 80% on specific categories of technology. It's funded through the Universal Service Fund.
In February of this year, a number of organizations began a campaign to get cybersecurity added to the categories of funding covered by E-rate. Currently, E-rate covers telecommunications hardware and services, Internet access and "internal connections, managed internal broadband services and basic maintenance of internal connections." A list of eligible services can be found here.
Other findings from the survey included:
95% of respondents agreed E-rate is a critical service for internet connectivity;
97% said "more students or library patrons are connected because of the E-rate program";
Satisfaction with the administration of E-rate is on the rise, with only 9% saying they are dissatisfied with the way it is administered.
"This year’s Trends Report indicates that the E-rate program is solid and steady," said John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning, in a prepared statement. "While connectivity needs continue to evolve, the Trends Report tells a very important story about E-rate as a vital resource for schools and libraries. The past two school years have showed us that school communities depend upon broadband access and network security.”
The complete E-rate Trends Report is freely available at fundsforlearning.com.