The whole world is having to face up to a growing threat from cyber-criminals and those who mean to do us harm online, and that means not only being mindful of how we conduct ourselves with the internet, but also how we have to evolve to meet this constantly changing threat.
But while cyber-security can be problematic for the individual, the threat increases many-fold when levelled at an organisation such as a school or college, where some users may leave themselves exposed, due to their lack of knowledge of such threats. Of all institutions, schools and colleges pose the greatest issue for IT professionals, and it is part of their role to educate while keeping staff and students safe.
The problem of cyber-security in educational institutions stems from a perception that they are vulnerable networks that are easier for hackers to access because there are a greater number of users who may not have security as their highest priority. In short, the increased level of threat is thought to be due to an increased use of open and collaborative networks in educational settings and a historic lack of security perceived to be needed. Many of the younger users in educational settings fail to follow what older people consider to be basic online security, potentially exposing the whole network to attack.
In a high-profile “Education Week” article, respected industry commentator Marie Bjerede said that she believed that many of the current issues with cyber-security in schools and colleges were based around humans rather than the actual technology or any shortcomings with it. Furthermore, she declared that schools need to train all staff on detecting phishing e-mails, and on exercising good password hygiene, but to be effective, these practices also need to be instilled in students too, who are often seen as the weak link in the security process.
But students can be the biggest threat to your system, either by not appreciating the threat, or not being bothered by it. Despite being advised against it, many students may access personal email systems on the school or college computer and that may open them up to malicious emails and potentially anything form a virus to bots and ransomware. This problem can be amplified if the student – or even tutor – is allowed to bring in their own device (known as BYOD), which may already have a virus unbeknown to them, and connect it to your WiFi system.
One of the biggest issues with cyber-security is the fact that it is constantly evolving and new means of attack are always being devised, but we at Maxxia believe that even basic security measures can help protect you. Our PDF guide – Cyber Security for Schools – highlights the main types of attack that schools and colleges may find themselves subject too, and show practical ways of deflecting them. Download it today and start securing your school.