sb-eu logo
Story image

Why IT security is a critical part of every learning environment

11 Sep 2017

Educational environments may have to cope with hundreds of devices connected to a network at any one time, but many institutions don’t have a plan to mitigate the security risks that arise from network usage, according to Wavelink.

Network devices can range from in-school equipment such as laptops and phones to bring-your-own and student devices, all of which run on different operating systems and with different security features installed.

“Education institutions rely on technology delivered through the network for learning. If a device is breached or brings down the network then learning stops. One of the threats, among many affecting schools, is ransomware such as CryptoLocker, which can cause havoc by completely locking the network down,” comments Manuja Wijesekera, Wavelink pre-sales solutions architect for Fortinet.

Wavelink believes that educational institutions much have a policy for introducing devices to a network, but this requires the right technology and governance, as well as a security culture that makes staff and students aware of the risk.

“While many schools might not have the resources in-house for this, they can find a partner that can walk them through this journey. The right partner can guide them in making important decisions about how to manage security at an appropriate level to minimise the risk to the institution. For example, a partner would be able to advise on the appropriate level of technical access levels for staff and students or an effective backup strategy that the school can use,” Wijesekera explains.

He believes it is important to start the journey towards better security, because doing nothing at all is the biggest possible mistake institutions could make.

“Some schools might be starting from nothing, which creates a real reluctance to start at all because it seems too overwhelming to fix everything at once. However, the important thing is just to start the journey ensuring it includes technology, governance, and awareness. Start small and improve over time. Gather metrics along the way that demonstrate the value of security in improving business operations so that the budget will also continue to grow with the program,” Wijesekera explains.

Wavelink suggests that educational institutions should look for security partners that are able to conduct cyber threat assessments. By doing so, institutions will understand how they sit in terms of security risk and will also receive the information they need to achieve an acceptable risk level in the next 12-24 months.

“In addition, reach out to other similar organisations to understand what they’re doing and even look at government resources to see how they can help. Not everything is a cost, and there are many free resources to get started with,” Wijesekera explains.

“It’s also useful to make it personal for teachers and students so they know the effect a security breach can have on them. Put security programs in place that include the whole school community,” he concludes.

Story image
ESET launches the latest version of its Mobile Security solution
“With this latest version of ESET Mobile Security, we want to ensure our users feel completely secure when performing financial transactions on their devices, in addition to being protected from malware and phishing attempts."More
Story image
75% of IT execs 'worried' about being targeted in cyber-attack
A new report from ConnectWise has shed light on the widespread concern about cyber-attacks, with 91% of SMB executives considering a move to an MSP if it provided the 'right' solution.More
Story image
SMBs seeking service providers in face of rising cyber threats
SMBs are struggling with their cybersecurity solutions, with three quarters worried about being the target of a cyberattack in the next six months, and 91% considering using or switching to a new IT service provider if offered a better option.More
Story image
Emotet malware is on a rampage after months of silence
CERT agencies around the world are reporting a surge in cyber attacks related to the Emotet malware, which is being distributed by email.More
Story image
Malware and email scams targeting employees spread rapidly in Q2
"Businesses must stay alert and should employ defense-in-depth tactics and equip themselves with multilayered security mechanisms, including high-sensor spam filters and a VPN connection, which would prevent malicious pages from opening."More
Story image
Interview: Check Point profiles 5 battles that SOC teams face in 2020
Security operations centres (SOCs) are often the first lines of defence.More