Most small to medium sized private schools are not safe from attack. I can say that because I sell technology solutions day in and day out in my full time job as a sales manager with TigerDirect.com. You wouldn't believe the ineptitude and ignorance about network security issues which I run across on a daily basis with my business customers. If businesses have a problem with security, you can only imagine what under-funded, under-staffed schools are coping with.
One Tech is Doing the Work of Many Techs
Remember: American business has been down-sizing tech positions since 2000. One tech person is now doing the work of 4 or more people. Hackers simply have gotten better. I know of many schools where the IT person also doubles as a faculty member as well as keeping everything running.
Hackers are Extremely Sophisticated
A few years ago you got a bit of advance warning about viruses and hacking ruses. These days, network attacks and successful incursions happen at lightning speed using some very common vulnerabilities. The emails and sites with worms and Trojans are everywhere. Most of them are very slick and invite the uninitiated among your faculty, staff and students to open attachments or click on a Web site. (You DO have digital immigrants, don't you?)
Protect Your Confidential Data
Put bluntly: if your school has a network which is connected to the outside world, i.e., the Internet, then you had better have some serious firewall and anti-virus protection in place. You cannot afford to have strangers 'hacking' into your confidential data.
Read my article. Follow some of my common sense suggestions which are culled from over 20 years in the technology business, most of it in education sector. Then check out Networking Guide Bradley Mitchell's firewall links. Make sure administration and staff understand the stakes. Next, hire an expert to implement and maintain your protection strategy.