Cyber security tips for schools

Cyber Security is vital to all organisations, and cyber attacks on schools are becoming more prevalent leading to loss of data and exposure of sensitive information. It is important for schools to follow best practices for IT Security, and to have a reliable Antivirus system in place, with backups and recovery options should a problem arise. Trailblaze IT offer several robust security solutions to protect your school, including Antivirus, Encryption, 24/7 Monitoring, Secure Remote Access, and Backups and Disaster Recovery.

Please read below the steps that schools and individuals can take to improve their ICT security, and to avoid cyber attacks or data loss.


Secure passwords
It is important to have secure passwords for all your accounts. It is recommended not to use words in your password that are personal to yourself, such as pet names, or birth dates. The most secure form of password is to choose three completely random words that have no relation to yourself or your organisation, and to also include numbers and symbols.


One password per account
Don’t use the same password across multiple accounts, as this will make all your accounts vulnerable to just one attack. It is best to not write down any of your passwords, but if you do have to store them, ensure that you store them in a secure way, such as encryption or through a secure password management program.


2-Factor Authentication
Where possible, use 2-factor authentication. This is when a code is sent to your mobile after entering your password, and access is only allowed once the matching code is submitted. This is the most secure way of logging into accounts, and can ensure that only those authorised can gain access to school data.


Avoid Phishing Scams
A phishing scam is when an email requests sensitive information or contains a dangerous link. Do not click on any links that you are unsure of, and always ask for advice from your IT team or school IT provider. There are some clues that can indicate if an email is not legitimate, such as poor spelling/grammar, and asking for ‘urgent action’, but it is always best to be cautious even if the email is well written.


Keep devices locked when not in use
Make sure that you lock your computer whenever you leave it. This is important to protect sensitive data from unauthorised access.


Use a secure Remote Access system
Since the pandemic, more staff have been working from home which can create IT security vulnerabilities, such as staff storing sensitive data on personal devices. Trailblaze IT offer a secure remote access system, which allows staff to securely access data remotely on their personal devices, while keeping all data stored only on the school network.


Have a reliable backup solution
It is important to have a reliable backup solution in place so that you can restore data in the event of a disaster. By keeping an entirely separate backup of your network, you can protect your school from data loss, and can quickly restore your data with minimal downtime. Trailblaze IT offer schools a secure backup and recovery solution, read more here.


Ensure that you have a reliable antivirus software installed on all devices, and keep your software updated at all times. Antivirus updates are extremely important, as they will protect your network from potential threats. Trailblaze IT will ensure that all your devices are covered by updated antivirus software and that all the latest security patches are in place. We monitor your antivirus software, and ensure that scans are scheduled and threats are managed, to provide you with the best protection.


System monitoring
It is important to ensure that your school network is frequently checked and monitored for any issues, so that any problems can be fixed before they can cause a wider issue. At Trailblaze IT we provide our 24/7 monitoring solution which constantly checks your network for potential issues and automatically raises an incident request for our engineers to investigate. In addition to live monitoring, our engineers manually check your backups, antivirus, updates and security patches every week to ensure your network and data are kept safe. Click here to find out more about our Cyber security services.


Avoid the use of USB or Memory Sticks
USB sticks can store and move data between computers, but this creates a vulnerability as they can also transfer malware and viruses. It is also dangerous to store sensitive data on memory sticks because they can be easily misplaced leading to data ending up in the wrong hands. If you must use a USB stick, always ensure that it is password protected. It is best to use online storage, such as a Cloud network, which allows staff to share data with authorised people securely and more easily. Trailblaze IT offer many cloud services, including storage, migration, and backups - read more.


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