Cyber security is a major concern for all organisations in 2019 – and that includes schools. Cyber-Attacks are one of the most significant threats that schools face and hackers are increasingly targeting campuses as they are often not equipped to handle attacks. This is a considerable concern as schools hold sensitive data relating to students and their parents or guardians, including medical records, addresses, and banking details.
Most threats that target schools come in the form of phishing, with malware being a popular form of attack. Some education providers are more prepared to handle these kinds of cyber security risks, with universities having notably better protection than schools, but most often fall far short when it comes to meeting the risk factors facing their institution. This is becoming a more prevalent issue as teachers and students begin to rely more heavily on digital technologies. Indeed, many are using digital devices every day within the classroom, and relying on them for homework and research. This brings about two primary concerns:
- How do we keep students safe when using their digital devices?
- How do we protect our data in a digital age?
The answer to both of these questions boils down to one thing; knowledge. Educators need to be aware that they are helping shape the leaders of tomorrow; leaders who will be heavily engaged with digital technology and who need to be taught how to be responsible digital citizens. This means helping students understand appropriate online behaviours, how to identify and react to threats, how to report any concerns they have, and how to maintain the security on their device – especially while mobile. For schools themselves, they must be willing to identify, understand, and take action against the threats facing them. This means conducting security audits and utilising vulnerability and penetration testing not only to see where their weak points are but to address them. Schools should also have response strategies in place for when they encounter a cyber threat. These threats are no longer a matter of ‘if’, but of ‘when’, and the primary concern for most educators should be how quickly they can respond – and how quickly they can recover. This includes factors that they may not have considered, such as compliance regulations, backup services, and downtime.
While this may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. With the right strategy in place, on that suits the needs of a school and their current and future goals, good security and its maintenance don’t have to be a chore. In fact, a good cyber security plan contributes positively toward student success, helping schools improve productivity, reduce costs, and focus on what matters – education.
If you want to find out more about how digital technologies – and threats – will impact your school in the new year, reach out to MOQdigital today. Our education consultants can help you find the right solution for 2019 and beyond.