Plus Why the Security Piece Deserves Your Attention Now
These days, to work in IT means to have the threat of a cybersecurity breach always buzzing in the back of your mind—especially for school IT Managers. After all, K-12 schools—along with municipalities, universities, and hospitals—are the biggest target for cybercriminals, thanks in large part to the volume of highly sensitive information, with 84 percent of organizations within this sector (called MUSH) confirming they store the personal information of students, community members, patients, and clients.
With cybercrime one of the most profitable industries in the world, this information is valuable to criminals, whether they’re selling databases of email addresses, credit card numbers, or social insurance numbers to other criminals on the dark web or holding a school’s entire network hostage for large ransoms, often in the millions.
This is what happened to Saskatchewan’s Regina Public Schools in May 2022, when the district was hit by a ransomware attack carried about by criminal organization BlackCat/ALPHV, who alleged in a ransom note displayed on school computers that they had encrypted 500 gigabytes of files belonging to Regina Public Schools, and possessed copies of data belonging to students, teachers, staff, and other school community members ranging from health information and tax reports to passports and teacher names and addresses.
The schools were forced to shut down their networks, with issues persisting into the summer as teachers still struggled to access their emails, files, and staff shared drive, with many teachers reporting the loss of years’ worth of material. And while they were advised that the criminal group had not, in fact, gained access to personal identifiable information, the school board provided complimentary credit monitoring out of caution, warning teachers that if the hackers had obtained that information, they could potentially find their way to banking information.
In March 2020, the US’s Sheldon Independent School District was hit by a ransomware attack that immobilized the school board’s network and hijacked critical data about students and teachers. After negotiating and paying a ransom, the school board lost approximately 10% of its files. But even after paying the ransom, the school board remained concerned the attackers would leverage the data they had stolen and advised district parents to investigate protection for their children’s data security, especially unique identifying information.
Attacks such as these linger, impacting community, staff, and parent trust, long after you’ve gone through the pain-staking steps to restore and rebuild your school district’s network systems. And while it’s critical to build a proactive cybersecurity strategy that protects your school to the best of your budget’s ability, there’s one foundational step you simply can’t afford to miss: ensuring the manufacturer-issued ransomware, malware, data encryption, and other important cybersecurity updates that accompany your districts’ hardware and software don’t lapse. Which is why you must stay ahead of upcoming changes in manufacturers’ support—including the upcoming end-of-support for Microsoft Windows 10.
What to Know About the Transition from Windows 10 to Windows 11—and How to Ensure You’re Prepared So There Aren’t Related Cybersecurity Lapses
The first major Windows upgrade in what’s now been eight years, Microsoft officially launched Windows 11 in October 2021. As with their previous versions, Microsoft will discontinue support for Windows 10 after Oct. 14, 2025. This means that after this date, any device still running Windows 10 will no longer receive the monthly security update releases from Microsoft.
Not continuing these monthly security updates leaves your districts’ computers and network vulnerable to malware, viruses, hacking, and other types of cybersecurity attacks. This is because, during a product’s support lifecycle, Microsoft’s engineers are continuously searching out loopholes, errors, outdated software elements, and other bugs within the Microsoft Windows 10 code; the patches they release each month help resolve these issues, as well as help maintain the stability of your operating system. Without these, it will be far easier for cybercriminals to spot vulnerabilities within Windows 10 and use them to attack your district.
Fortunately, if you act now, there’s still time to put together an upgrade plan, run it through your school board’s budget approval process, and leave yourself with a solid runway to execute and implement without scrambling before these vulnerabilities become glaring.
There are also tremendous benefits to upgrading to Windows 11—especially if you take the opportunity to invest in upgrading to hardware that’s been designed to operate Windows 11 at its highest potential.
After all, as the world of education continues to rapidly evolve, technology is more than just an accessory or simple tool: it’s a catalyst for growth and innovation. More than ever, K-12 educators are hungry for powerful tools that can transform both the learning experience and their work experience, as well as equip their students with the skills they’ll need to thrive in a digital future.
Windows 11 for Education:
Microsoft Windows 11 for education has incorporated learnings from educators throughout the process of shifting to online and remote learning, then hybrid and blended learning. They found that teachers’ traditional lesson plans didn’t always translate to digital teaching, but also that with the return to in-person education, 87% of teachers planned to use more technology to teach than ever before.
It’s no wonder—a report from ViewSonic on the use of video technology in classrooms found that:
64% of students like that teachers use various media types including video and photos to help them learn
84% of parents believe that the use of school technology is raising the value of their children’s education and 78% believe that the regular use of technology at school helps their children develop crucial life skills
52% of teachers stated that through the use of digital technology, they noticed students are working together more often, developing greater problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and are more motivated to learn
With teachers creating more digital content themselves, assigning and grading homework through computer applications, using technology to build connections with parents and more, it was important for the Windows 11 team to design new productivity and inclusivity features and functionality that’s built to meet the hybrid education world’s unique challenges, along with a refreshed look and feel designed to help students learn more, with less stress.
Easier Than Ever for Every User Experience: Windows 11 features a clean and modern interface designed to create a distraction-free environment for students and reduce the learning curve for educators and students alike. For school IT admins, it’s built to be secure, easy to deploy and manage, and perform well throughout a hybrid learning environment.
Seamless Collaboration and Productivity: Windows 11 features a new Start Menu, improved multitasking, and Microsoft Teams integration, all designed to empower students to collaborate plus stay organized and focused with ease.
Advanced Security to Help Your Schools Stay Ahead of Threats: Another security benefit to upgrading is that not only do you keep your Microsoft security patches and upgrades continuous, but Windows 11 also comes with advanced security features. This includes Windows Defender SmartScreen, which helps protect against malware and phishing threats to ensure a safe digital environment, regardless of students’ and teachers’ levels of knowledge about what threats to be on guard against.
Software + Hardware Designed for Each Other: Windows 11 is designed to work seamlessly with the latest hardware, including ASUS laptops for education—ensuring optimal performance and efficiency, whether in the classroom or in homes.
After all, Windows 10 launched in July 2015 and since then, hardware manufacturers—including ASUS—have launched a lot of innovations. Microsoft considered every single detail with their Windows 11 release, building the software to the latest hardware so that when paired together, they operate at their highest levels.
How ASUS’s Education Laptops Deliver Education- and IT Service-Centered Design
Regularly named as one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Brands, ASUS builds a few different laptops specifically for education—including the new BR1402 series, the world’s first 2-in-1 ruggedized 14-inch laptops designed for the needs of modern K-12 students and hybrid learning.
Available in both a traditional clamshell form and a convertible design that flips 360° to become a versatile multitouch tablet, the BR1402 series laptops are:
Reliably Built to military standards to withstand daily use, these laptops are packed with clever protective features from a spill-resistant keyboard and wrap-around rubber bumper to ASUS Antimicrobial Guard protection and Corning Gorilla Glass to help protect against drops and scratches. These laptops also include built-in security features for a safer learning experience
Designed for Blended Learning, enabling expansive education to flow seamlessly from the classroom to the home and beyond, with seamless connectivity, dynamic displays, innovative form factors, options that include a fast-charging garaged stylus and a world-facing camera for easy content creation, and expandable storage for a wide range of classroom scenarios. The BR1402 series also features all-day battery life up to 11 hours, ASUS AI noise-canceling technology for increased focus, and a TUV-certified display for better eye comfort.
Designed for Easy IT Servicing, thanks to a technician-friendly modular design and easy-to-upgrade parts, allowing for efficient IT servicing to reduce downtime and extend the product lifespan
ASUS’s CR11 Chromebook series features many of the same benefits as the BR1402 series, including:
K-12 Centered Design with ASUS Antimicrobial Guard to help keep laptops clean and sanitary, TUV-blue light certified display to protect children’s eyes from damage, webcam privacy shutters, a 180° lay-flat hinge, and an all-day, 12-hour battery life with fast-charging support
ASUS Ruggedized Design with military-grade durability, all-rounded rubber bumpers that pass even more rigorous ASUS internal quality tests, plus a tamper-resistant and spill-resistant keyboard that can withstand water spills up to 405 cc.
IT Serviceable Design, thanks to an easy-to-maintain modular design that allows parts to be shared, reducing waste and improving efficiency for your IT service, one-sized and anti-falling screws with a dual Nylock that can be easily repaired, plus simple panel maintenance thanks to an anti-loosening LVDS cable.
Paired with Windows 11, these devices are easier on the eyes and easier to use than ever. The software works in tandem with the hardware to make student, teacher, and staff work easier to organize and collaborate with, plus they’re designed to help keep apps, identities, information, and privacy secure. Hardware and software work together in Windows 11 to support zero-trust principles and enable a layered approach to data security. You can implement user authentication, enforce least-privileged access, use end-to-end encryption, and leverage advanced analytics to improve threat detection and defense
Act Now to Stay Ahead of Avoidable Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
As they say, there’s no time like the present—while October 2025 may feel far away now, when it comes to planning for the budgeting approval process plus execution, there’s no such thing as too much time. Failing to upgrade to Windows 11 as support for Windows 10 sunsets will leave you open to easily avoidable cybersecurity vulnerabilities, making your schools even more of a target for criminals. As you’re well aware, these incidents are costly not only financially, but in terms of downtime, file, data, and information loss plus teacher, parent, and community trust.
But this change also presents an opportunity to update your districts’ hardware as well in order to optimize technology benefits for students, teachers, and IT, a choice ASUS makes easy with its K-12 ruggedized designs built for blended learning and simple IT service alike.
From deployment and management, training and support, and security and compliance to custom solutions, Compugen can act as your educational technology ally, bridging the gap between ASUS, Windows 11, and your schools’ unique needs—providing the deep expertise and support you deserve to integrate these solutions into your operations.