Improving Cybersecurity in Education Systems

Believe it or not: Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing industries as businesses, organisations and governments across the world keen on protecting sensitive data. However, very few people and even experts talked about the need for cybersecurity in education systems.

According to a recent study by VMware, cyber-attacks on British universities presents an “increasing risk to national security”. If this is the situation we are now witnessing, the education sector must immediately start working on how to effectively prevent, minimize and secure attacks on their systems. 

How is education under threat from hackers?

In the past few years, the education industry has become more and more susceptible to cyber-attacks because of these motives: –

Financial gain – Hackers attacking educational institution for financial gain is now quite common. Hackers are aware that universities and colleges are handling student fees and other financials using their computer systems. A breach in a college computer system can be quite devastating.

Data theft – Most educational institutions keep data of their students and employees. These sensitive data include details like names, emails, phone numbers and addresses. These data is very valuable to criminals who could exploit the information to a third party for various purposes.

Education institutions are vulnerable to hackers who wanted to get access to sensitive data and for financial gains. Cyberattacks are becoming so common over the past few years. Let’s look at some of the reasons why hackers are so successful:

Lack of resources:  Most education institutions do not have enough or allocate budget for cybersecurity products like anti-virus/malware software or qualified cybersecurity staff;

Cultural issues: The culture of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ in educational institutions is posing grave threats to the entire security network on the campus;

Lack of policy: Few institutions cared to frame and implement strict adherence to policies for using the campus network.

What security measures can be taken by education sector?

Cybersecurity related risks mainly originate from technological devices. As such, here are a must-do tips to keep data secure and safe across the system: –

  1. Password protection laptops/desktops and other devices.
  2. One of the most effective cybersecurity solutions is protection is a secure/strong password. Do not share or reveal your passwords.

Organise network security training for staff and students 

Most cyberattacks and data breaches are the result of human error. Start training your students, teachers and other staff and make them understand the risk of not using the institution’s system in a safe manner. The training may include:

  • How to know safe and unsafe websites
  • How to spot phishing attempts or other scams
  • How to use antivirus, malware and other security systems
  • How to find the best free firewalls

Education sector must start investing time and money in training. This will reduce the chance of cyberattacks. In addition to training, institutions must have early detection and post-attack solutions.

Frame cyber policy and implement it

Having a cybersecurity policy will help your institution in checking and validating what’s going on in your network. When violations are notices, take action against violators.

Importance of Cybersecurity in Education Sector

No industry is immune from cyberattacks as the world gets more connected. Even schools, colleges and universities which were once considered to be safe zones are no longer safe. So, effective network security is a must. The large database such institutions hold instantly make them a target of hackers. It is important to note that given the complexity of networks, traditional anti-viruses aren’t simply no longer enough.  Therefore, taking the help of cybersecurity experts will be an added advantage to the tips we mentioned earlier in the post. It’s time to take cybersecurity seriously. Remember that a single click or a single peek inside your system flaws can cause untold havoc.

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