Schools are succumbing to cyberattacks
For schools and colleges, the threat vectors from cyberattack are many and diverse, from traditional viruses to phishing and other social engineering to ransomware attacks (devices and data locked until money is paid, often on the Dark Web). In recent weeks, two schools –Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester and Hardenhuish School in Chippenham were reported to have succumbed to such attacks, engaging the support of the National Cyber Security Centre and police in response.
Schools can be the focus of an attack whether by a disgruntled former student, or employee, someone looking for infamy, or cybercriminals looking for a ‘soft’ target. However, due to the low-risk high reward strategy of casting the net wide with ransomware and phishing attacks, educational establishments will often find themselves exposed, as unlike large corporate enterprises, they lack the skills and resources to dedicate to building and maintaining adequate defences. What is more, despite IT security being taught to MSc students skilled professionals are in short supply, high demand and that means an eyewatering price tag.
Beware of making the wrong decisions
Cyberattacks are not the only area of concern when it comes to IT security. Data protection and data privacy regulation (such as GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018) means schools and colleges can be fined with varying degrees of severity if personal information is lost or stolen and adequate preventative steps were not in place.
It can even be the case that proactive measures taken in good faith to improve the lives of students and staff can cause the school to fall foul of the regulator. For example a municipality in Sweden was fined 20,000 Euros in 2019, for introducing facial recognition to measure attendance. Whilst a school in Poland was fined when it was found to be processing students’ fingerprint data to verify whether they had paid for school lunch, using the biometric system it had introduced.
Whether your school or college is incapacitated by an attack or feels the force of the Information Commissioner’s Office, the consequence is a negative impact on immediate and future resources, which for many are already stretched to the absolute limit.
Resources are available but you need real support
The reality is that the vast majority of schools do not have even the most basic of safeguards in place (whether from a technology or process perspective) that provides the resilience needed to mitigate the risk of attack and its subsequent impact. The National Cyber Security Centre states that ‘Cyber security should be high on the agenda for any school with a reliance on IT and online systems’ and it has produced resources for school staff.
However, the reality is that your school needs more than downloads, it requires a guardian watching over the many different technologies your staff and students depend upon 24x7/365. The good news is that this can be achieved without the need to hire a dedicated IT security professional.
Konica Minolta has a dedicated team of IT experts that fully understand the demands of educational IT and the needs of your school. We have worked with more than 4,000 schools and academies in the UK and have former school IT leaders in our team, so we have a deep understanding of the challenges that you face.
With an impressive pool of IT expertise, from cybersecurity and Data governance to fully managed print solutions and the latest highly secure cloud solutions for full backup peace of mind, Konica Minolta provides the professional IT team your school needs, with all the skills and specialisms, for a fixed and highly affordable monthly fee. You have access to the full IT provision you need, whenever you need it, without the overheads and worries of providing it yourself.