Amazon Pledges $20 Million to Biden’s School Cybersecurity Plan

school cybersecurity

Amazon is offering $20 million to help fund cybersecurity programs at U.S. schools.

The tech giant’s pledge was announced Monday (Aug. 7) as part of a larger effort by the White House to bolster electronic defenses at K-12 schools, following an uptick in cyberattacks.

A White House news release notes that at least eight U.S. school districts suffered “significant” cyberattacks in the last school year, causing four of them to cancel classes or close down.

“Not only have these attacks disrupted school operations, but they also have impacted students, their families, teachers, and administrators,” the release said. “Sensitive personal information — including, student grades, medical records, documented home issues, behavioral information, and financial information — of students and employees were stolen and publicly disclosed.”

To combat the problem, companies like Amazon have agreed to offer funds and services. In addition to Amazon Web Services’ $20 million grant commitment, the company has also pledged to provide free security reviews to U.S. education technology providers.

Another company, Cloudfare, is offering free cybersecurity solutions to public school districts under 2,500 students so that smaller districts can have “faster, safer Internet browsing and email security,” the release said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission is also calling for a pilot program that would spend up to $200 million over three years to strengthen cyber defenses in K-12 schools and libraries in conjunction with other federal agencies with cybersecurity expertise.

The White House announcement comes as a number of industries are pivoting to deal with an increase in cybertattacks.

For example, as PYMNTS wrote last month, new research shows that 51% of banks moving toward cloud technology have done so to bolster their cybersecurity.

Companies are also facing new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules requiring them to disclose all material cybersecurity incidents and to detail their risk management, strategy and governance on an annual basis.

As covered here last month, the SEC is hoping to enhance investors’ understanding of material cybersecurity risks, letting them allocate capital more efficiently.

“Whether a company loses a factory in a fire — or millions of files in a cybersecurity incident — it may be material to investors,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a news release. “Currently, many public companies provide cybersecurity disclosure to investors. I think companies and investors alike, however, would benefit if this disclosure were made in a more consistent, comparable, and decision-useful way.”