The internet and having an online presence have become commonplace in education by allowing educators to continue teaching classes during a global pandemic, providing students with opportunities to communicate and build relationships, and letting schools store and protect student information and data.
But with education data breaches and cyberattacks becoming more prevalent in UK schools, how can schools keep their data and networks protected?
Data Privacy Day is an annual international event led by the National Cybersecurity Alliance to raise awareness amongst individuals and organisations on how to be responsible with data and personal information shared online. Data Privacy Day 2022 sheds light on how important data safekeeping is and what steps individuals and institutions can take to keep their personal information secure.
What is personal information?
According to the UK Government, personal data is information about an individual who:
- Can be identified directly from the information being processed, or
- Can be indirectly identified from that information and/or in combination with other information.
Schools keep various types of personal information about their staff and pupils. The information stored will vary by institution, however, most will at minimum store basic data, such as:
- Names, birth dates, and addresses of both staff and students
- National Insurance Numbers and recruitment information
- Photos of school staff and students
- Financial information such as bank details
- Medical records
- Information regarding students’ school performance, marks, school attendance, and behaviour
- Safeguarding information.
School data protection: How to keep your information safe
Cyberthreats that used to focus on retail or financial institutions have increasingly targeted schools. With schools in the crosshairs of global hacker groups, it’s more important than ever to be proactive about keeping school data protected. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Protect your devices from malware attacks by making sure you have reliable antivirus software installed.
- Encourage staff and students to look after their login information. This means setting strong passwords and authorising two-factor authentication where possible. Use different passwords on different school logins and never share them with anyone.
- Turn off ‘auto-complete’ settings.
- Allow personal data access only to relevant staff.
- Encrypt personal information that is stored electronically.
- Ensure all physical documents containing sensitive information are stored securely and shred all unnecessary kept documents.
- Use an internet filter like Impero Webcheck to protect the school network from encrypted traffic and keep students (and their devices) safe online.
- Choose a secure remote access tool like Impero Connect to help IT teams troubleshoot issues without compromising the school network.
- Make sure to educate students on the dangers of the online world and show them how they can protect themselves and their personal information.
How to get involved in Data Privacy Day 2022
Want to get involved in Data Privacy Day 2022? Here are a few ways for you to spread awareness about the importance of school data protection:
- The National Cybersecurity Alliance has a program that lets you become a Data Privacy Week Champion. By signing up, you will receive resources such as a Data Privacy Week PDF guide, articles, social media graphics and posts. Learn more here.
- Dedicate class time to teach ways for staff and students to stay safe and protected online. Plan a seminar on school data protection for your staff and dedicate a lesson to personal information shared online for pupils.
- Follow the National Cybersecurity Alliance on Twitter. This year, they’ve dedicated a whole week to raising awareness for data privacy protection.
- Share your Data Privacy Day 2022 activities on your social media profiles and add to the conversation with the following hashtags: #PrivacyAware, #dataprivacy, #DataPrivacyDay2022, #DataPrivacyWeek.
Schools across the globe have been facing data breaches, but with the right tools and resources in place to safeguard data, you can help create a culture of privacy and data security at your school.
For more information on school data, go here.