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Why Schools Should Invest in Enhanced Cyber Security and Training

Image of school lockers representing school security

This year alone there have been numerous ransomware attacks on schools in the UK. This has raised a question as to whether schools and other educational facilities invest enough in their cyber security and staff training. The latest victim is UWS, University of West of Scotland who was targeted by a gang called Rhysida.

According to BBC news, Rhysida positioned itself as a cybersecurity team telling the organisation they were doing them a favour by pointing out vulnerabilities in their systems. However, the gang is demanding GBP 450,000 from UWS to prevent them from auctioning all the personal and other sensitive data they have stolen on the dark web.

What consequences can inadequate cybersecurity and training have?

If your school is hacked, it’s not only data that is affected. Rhysida’s attack affected staff laptops, shut down half of the IT systems, and affected student submissions. The university’s website was also down showing an error message due to the attack. This not only caused inconvenience to the staff and students but also put them in danger due to the sensitive data that was stolen. These attacks also impact in the long run the reputation of the school because it shows that there’s a lack of investment in security measures that prevent these attacks from succeeding.

What measures can you take to keep your school safe?

First and foremost, you need to have a proper cybersecurity strategy in place. Having regular cybersecurity assessments performed is the first step in developing a comprehensive strategy that is implemented in your school. Also having regular staff training and keeping your staff and student updated on the regulations and guidelines related to cybersecurity is vital for the overall safety of your school. Keep your devices and systems updated and ensure you have proper cyber security tools available that can detect and react to threats. It’s not enough that you have a firewall and hope for the best. A VPN solution and Microsoft Sentinel are things you will want to invest in to help safeguard your school. Also keeping your staff trained by professionals helps to mitigate risks of data breaches.

Talk to the help4IT cybersecurity team

Schools and other educational facilities have become one of the favourite targets for cybercriminals. If you want to keep your staff and students safe, you need to ensure that your staff are properly trained to spot possible attack attempts, have a robust cybersecurity strategy in place, keep all relevant people informed about regulations and guidelines in terms of cybersecurity, and keep your systems and cyber security tools updated always.

The team at help4IT can assist you with the implementation of all this and more for your school. Visit our Schools, Colleges, and Universities page for details.

Remember, attackers see schools as easy targets for their payday, so they come up with sophisticated and devastating ways to cause damage and extort them. To avoid this potential scenario, speak to our team today for advice on how you can better protect your staff and students.

Tom Finnis

Tom Finnis is responsible for the delivery of IT support services and projects to help4IT's clients, as well as the development of the company's cloud infrastructure and related products. Tom has overseen the growth of the Help4IT technical department from 3 to 12 full-time staff, with additional contract workers, creating the systems and procedures to enable the efficient provision of the company's high level of support. More recently he has led the design and deployment of help4IT's multi-site cloud infrastructure.

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