The education industry is one of the most booming industries in the world right now.
Since COVID-19 forced children to study from their homes, reliance on online data has significantly increased.
With most educational institutions conducting their classes online, cyberthreats are inevitable.
Cybersecurity in education is important so that student and faculty data can be kept safe.
But cybercriminals have different plans. They neither want you to be safe nor away from them.
Students, teachers, and staff members are all under the radar of hackers. Thus, you need to develop cybersecurity knowledge regardless of your role in the education sector.
So, let us take a look at seven best ways to prevent cyberattacks in the education industry:
7 cybersecurity tips that every educational website must follow
1. Installing an SSL certificate
All educational institutions must adopt this measure ASAP. An SSL or Secure Sockets Layer certificate is a security protocol designed to protect your website’s connection so that no hacker can intervene or compromise your data.
An SSL certificate uses Public Key Infrastructure to ensure that the data between your server and the student’s web browser passes over a secure network instead passing in a plain text format.
If institutes don’t consider SSL, they will give the hackers valuable information, such as residential details, email addresses, passwords, phone numbers, bank details, etc.
Moreover, search engines like Google will penalize you for not keeping up with security standards by decreasing your search rankings and restricting users from visiting your site.
So, you must be wondering, which SSL is most secure and worth buying? If you want to ensure the utmost credibility and security, don’t look any further than Extended Validation or EV SSL certificates.
EV SSL cannot be obtained merely by sharing your domain details; and instead, it requires you to share the complete address of the owner and the business.
So, buy an EV SSL today.
2. Password hygiene
On education websites, every student has a separate password. Merely controlling your password won’t do much to secure your website.
So, you must ensure that each of your students is offered a unique password, and they must not be allowed to set their passwords.
Personal passwords are weak and do not require much guesswork. A simple brute force attack can compromise your entire educational infrastructure.
So, it is best to offer robust passwords to the students and change them regularly.
3. Phishing attacks
Since systems and processes have moved online, emails are in trend. Most professional conversations are preferably done through email.
The problem here is that hackers can impersonate one of your superiors, asking you for confidential data.
Phishing emails contain unsolicited links. If you click on those links, you may be redirected to a malware-prone website.
But, if you are prepared for such attacks, you can repel them. Firstly, no senior-level faculty will ever ask you for information that they should already know.
Secondly, don’t rush to take action on any email. Take your time to read it fully. If you find spelling errors and logo misplacement, chances are you are reading a phishing email.
4. Create an IT department
Many educational institutions do not have IT departments. To them, it is a sheer waste of resources.
But that is a wrong approach. If you do not have anyone overlooking your network security, you set yourself up for a disaster.
IT professions can help keep your data secure by keeping anti-viruses, firewalls, SSL certificates, and website software up to date. They can install solutions like identity and access management, so the right people can access the tools they need without causing security issues. Not only will this improve security but it will also increase productivity. A Keycloak managed service would definitely fit the bill.
You no longer have to worry about the security of your faculty and student data.
5. Keep track of the admin access.
Another benefit of having a robust IT department is tracking the number of logins and admin accesses.
They can decide who should have access to what and till what time. You can define admin boundaries in your organization and only allow a few trusted hands to access the institute’s root directory.
Unregulated admin access can also invite hackers who can compromise your database by accessing your root directory.
They can steal all sensitive records and perhaps share them on the dark web.
6. Train your staff
You will always be counted as ill-prepared for a cyberattack if your employees are not trained in cybersecurity.
Hire cybersecurity experts for employee training. Make them conduct cybersecurity sessions every three months so that the staff can be aware of what MITM, brute force, phishing, and ransomware attacks are.
Trained staff can act as another layer of protection for your institute’s website. They won’t fall for unsolicited emails and messages asking for company information.
Hackers would be discouraged by their failure after trying to breach through emails and brute force attacks multiple times.
7. Create backups
Though you have taken all security measures, cyberattacks can still not be promised. They can come in different ways and through different means.
So, it is best to be proactive. Data backups help you regain the information that got lost during the cyberattack.
Courses, curriculums, exam sheets, faculty, and student data are all present in the website’s database.
Thus, it is imperative to create data backups.
But you must be wondering- well, how do I do that?
You can create multiple backup sources like on a different hard drive and cloud-based storage.
Cloud backups allow you to access your data from any device and place. Moreover, it is considered safer than hard drive storage.
You can also use a trusted Childcare Management Software that automatically creates a backup on their cloud server.
The online education industry will be growing rapidly in 2021. More companies are coming in to provide better learning modules for students.
As an owner of an educational institute, ensuring the security of your student, faculty, and website data are unavoidable.
With hackers looming everywhere, you must employ best security practices like SSL certificates, firewalls, strong passwords, and IT professionals so that you can stay one step ahead of the cybercriminals.
By following these seven tips, you can protect your educational website with ease. So, integrate these practices into your institute today.