Compliance and Regulations

Lessons from the St. Mary Parish School Board Cybersecurity Incident

Explore the St. Mary Parish School Board's response to a recent cybersecurity breach, uncovering the importance of swift action and legal compliance in protecting sensitive information within educational institutions.
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In December 2023, the St. Mary Parish School Board experienced a cybersecurity incident that highlighted the vulnerability of educational institutions to cyber threats. Despite no evidence of data acquisition or access, the incident served as a wake-up call for schools nationwide to prioritize cybersecurity.

The Incident Timeline

The saga began with connectivity issues that prevented access to the School Board's local system. Immediate action was taken to investigate, leading to the discovery of unauthorized network access. By January 31, 2024, it was confirmed that a cyber incident had occurred, necessitating notifications under state law.

Legal Compliance and Notification Process

Under Louisiana state law, entities experiencing a security breach must notify affected individuals "without unreasonable delay but not later than 60 days from the discovery of the breach." The St. Mary Parish School Board's notification came within the legally mandated timeframe, underscoring the importance of understanding and adhering to relevant cybersecurity laws.

Measures Taken Post-Breach

In response to the breach, the School Board took comprehensive measures to review potential data leaks and notify those who might have been impacted. Crucially, all employee data was migrated to a cloud-based platform, significantly enhancing data security.

Cybersecurity in Education: A Growing Challenge

Educational institutions store a wealth of sensitive information, making them prime targets for cybercriminals. The St. Mary Parish School Board incident underscores the need for robust cybersecurity measures to protect against unauthorized access and data breaches.

Best Practices for Cyber Resilience

To combat the threat of cyber incidents, educational institutions should implement strong cybersecurity policies, conduct regular security assessments, and train staff and students on cyber hygiene. Additionally, an effective incident response plan is essential for quickly addressing and mitigating breaches.


The St. Mary Parish School Board cybersecurity incident serves as a crucial lesson in the importance of vigilance and proactive security measures in the education sector. As cyber threats continue to evolve, so too must the cybersecurity strategies of schools and educational boards.


Q1: What happened in the St. Mary Parish School Board cybersecurity incident?
A1: The St. Mary Parish School Board experienced unauthorized access to its local network in December 2023, leading to a cybersecurity incident that potentially exposed the personal information of current and former employees dating back to 2021.
Q2: Was any student data compromised in the breach?
A2: No, all student data was cloud-based and was not at risk during the cybersecurity incident.
Q3: What steps did the St. Mary Parish School Board take in response to the breach?
A3: The School Board conducted an investigation with law enforcement, reviewed potential data leaks, notified potentially impacted individuals, and transitioned all employee data to a cloud-based software platform to enhance security.
Q4: What does Louisiana state law say about notification following a cybersecurity breach?
A4: Louisiana state law requires that affected individuals be notified without unreasonable delay but no later than 60 days from the discovery of the breach, ensuring timely communication to mitigate the impact on those potentially affected.
Q5: Why are educational institutions targeted by cybercriminals?
A5: Educational institutions are targeted due to the vast amount of sensitive personal and financial information they hold, making them attractive targets for cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities for unauthorized access or data theft.
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