Floyd County Schools announced a new hire during Tuesday night’s board of education meeting who will work to keep the system’s sensitive data, such as student names, birthdays and Social Security information out of the hands of hackers.

The position, which the system is calling a system analyst and security manager, will be filled by Matthew Rosser, the system’s top candidate for the position, according to Craig Ellison, executive director of technology and media services for the county schools.

Ellison pitched this position to the board during their work session earlier this fall. Floyd County Schools has sensitive data on about 100,000 people including teachers, staff and students he said. This information could be at risk if someone gains access to the system’s servers, and with the current staff there is not enough manpower to constantly watch for threats.

“Currently, we don’t have anyone combing through those servers looking for threats,” Ellison said at the time. “All it takes is clicking a wrong email.”

Ellison said the school system has an insurance policy covering them for $1 million, which would not be a drop in the bucket. Try not paying 1,500 employees their salaries because of a data breach, he said. Floyd County Schools is responsible for this data and if it were to get compromised it could put a student’s college and job future at risk.

During Tuesday night’s board meeting, the technology director said Rosser will be the system’s first line of defense against cyber attacks. Superintendent Jeff Wilson said it seems like every other day there are reports of cyber attacks crippling business and government organizations.

An example of this is when the statewide court system used by Floyd County went offline following a ransomware attack over the last weekend in June. This caused a huge loss of data, according to Superior Court Clerk Barbara Penson. She said earlier in October things were just beginning to slow down since the ransomware attack, and employees got the first Saturday off in months.


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