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8 Cybersecurity Priorities for Schools

Hackers have become notorious in this digital age for severe data breaches that compromise our privacy, integrity, and financial data. School networks have especially become prime targets for cybercriminals since they began offering online learning. But this doesn’t always have to be the case.

Whether you are running a kindergarten in Australia or A-level schools in Singapore, you will have to take measures to improve your cybersecurity. From firewalls to data encryption, here are eight things to prioritize when enhancing your school’s online security.

Cybersecurity Training

It’s no secret that people are the weakest link to any cybersecurity measures put in place. You could have the best firewall programs, but a single password breach can be the gateway for hackers to infiltrate your institution.

Many school hacks have happened because a teacher or student exposed their login credentials after clicking phishing links. This is why it’s important to train all your students and staff on how to protect themselves when surfing the web.

You can start by organizing workshops where they are taught about the different types of attacks, such as malware, ransomware, and social engineering. Training your staff on identifying suspicious emails and how to set up safe passwords will go a long way in preventing password leakages.

User Access Control

Data modification and unauthorized tampering are among the main challenges schools deal with. Limiting the people who have access to sensitive records, such as student information systems, greatly reduces the risk of identity theft. It also makes it easier to track the source of data breaches.

You can enforce user access control using biometrics, smart cards, or one-time login passwords whenever someone needs access. The fewer the number of people with access to sensitive information, the easier it will be to protect it.

Network Segmentation

Separating the networks that students and staff access is one of the best practices for preventing data breaches. Firewalls and access control lists can prevent unauthorized access and limit the damage in the event of a hacking incident.

Remember that sometimes, the threat can come from tech-savvy students. They may attempt to use their login credentials to move horizontally or laterally through the network and change their grades. Network segmentation prevents this by separating the network that the staff and students operate within. This keeps them from accessing unauthorized sections.

Password Management Policies

In 2023 NordPass published a list of common passwords, and “123456” was the most used password. It takes hackers less than a second to hack computers or systems with that password.

It’s normal to want to set a password that is easy to remember. However, they tend to be the easiest to crack. Password management policies ensure that everyone sets passwords that meet your organization’s requirements. This can include minimum characters, multi-factor authentication, or limited access to private data.

Vetting Third Part Vendors

As you scale up the cybersecurity defenses in your school, you shouldn’t forget to assess the security of any external companies you work with. Some third-party vendors may have lax data protection measures, which can create opportunities for hackers to gain confidential data. So before you hire any company to manage your data or provide connected services, ensure they have robust data protection measures and policies.

Security Patches and Updates

Every year, companies like Google and Microsoft release software updates and security patches that enhance cybersecurity. Updating your school systems mitigates any open risks of exploitation by cyberattackers.

Hackers often exploit security loopholes in your device software to collect data and launch malware attacks. Therefore, you should encourage your students and staff to update their devices to ensure they address any vulnerabilities in their phones.

Software updates do more than address security issues. They also improve the performance and stability of the system and fix bugs. So if you want your systems running optimally, do not ignore that new update.

Network Monitoring

Even the most robust cybersecurity measures are not foolproof. They need to be monitored for unusual activity or security breaches. Data monitoring helps to identify malicious activity early and prevent imminent attacks. For this, you may have to hire qualified IT personnel or outsource to a cybersecurity company.

Staying Safe Online While at Home

Most schools nowadays provide online learning materials for students to go through while at home. This means your security campaigns need to extend to their homes.

Parents should be taught how to keep their kids safe as they play online games or access learning platforms. Here are tips to help with that.

  • Secure Wi-Fi – To avoid hacking while at home, parents should install encrypted Wi-Fi networks and set strong passwords. Additionally, do not share your password with anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Ensure that all your children’s devices are password-protected with strong, unique passwords. You can use a secure password manager if it’s hard to remember all the passwords.
  • Use parental control – Before you hand over that tablet or laptop to your child, use the parental control features to monitor and limit access. This will keep you informed of their online activities and allow you to intervene when necessary.


The revolution that technology has brought is here to stay, and most schools will continue adopting it into their administrative systems. Although hackers pose a significant threat, schools have the power to implement measures that will protect them from cyber-attacks. By prioritizing the measures above, learning institutions will protect their students’ information and minimize the risk of data breaches.

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