Importance of IT in Education: Lessons to be Learnt

by Lauren Ascroft on 10 Apr 2017

IT in education

Fraudsters have been targeting UK schools and universities, demanding payments of up to £8,000 to unlock data they have encrypted by malware. The importance of IT in education is at an all time high as schools and universities become increasingly more attractive to target. UK police are warning and urging educational establishments to be vigilant.

External threats come from skilled and sophisticated hackers who can find network vulnerabilities or socially manipulate insiders to get past outer network defences. Students and staff may not be educated in common traps set by hackers and won’t be able to spot theses socially engineered attacks. These could include phishing emails which could directly be sent to a head teacher about exam guidance and mental health assessments for example.

Any exposure of students personal data will result in a breach of data privacy laws. It is vital that schools and universities spend time training staff, and ensuring that proper security procedures are in place for protecting data. The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into play in May 2018, making data protection a key priority. Severe consequences could follow should you become victim to a breach without reporting it within a certain time frame, for example. Click here for some more information on GDPR from IT security experts, Rockford IT and their industry leading partners.

With over 1 billion websites on the world wide web today, locking down certain websites and applications is extremely important when it comes to safeguarding students from the worst on the internet in today’s society, and for making sure students can only access age appropriate materials. Web filtering can protect students from inappropriate content across the web and utilizing customisable web filter systems is best practice, allowing the administrators to have greater control over which sites are allowed and which are blocked. With WatchGuard firewalls you can get top grade IT security across your entire organisation with features that provide layered protection.

Every year more school and universities are implementing the bring your own device (BYOD) policy, allowing students and staff to use personal mobile devices, laptops on the wireless network. Today’s students need high-speed wireless access to abundant web-based educational resources. All of these devices could begin to overload the wireless network and could open the network up to a variety of vulnerabilities including viruses.

A major IT security risk within most organisations is the access to administration rights. These are needed in an organisation to download software, change systems settings and software updates for example. Most companies choose to let their users keep administration privileges because they can’t afford to hinder employee productivity, thus gambling their IT security.

If you are in the education sector and you are scammed, defrauded or experience cyber crime make sure it is reported to Action Fraud, the UK’s cyber crime and fraud reporting centre. You can report a fraud any time of the day with their online fraud reporting tool.

You can view our customer case study: The Priory School here. If you would like more information on IT Security please contact Rockford IT here.

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