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The cybercriminals are after your data!

How the right network security can give schools peace of mind. By David Tindall, Managing Director, Schools Broadband

Posted by Hannah Oakman | October 19, 2015 | Business

Cybercrime is big business. It is growing day by day and growing in sophistication too. To put it in perspective, 90% of large businesses suffered a data breach last year, costing each business between £75K and £310K. Whilst we’re focusing on education here, this should send alarm bells ringing to anyone with responsibility for the protection of data under the Data Protection Act.

A school’s student data, contact details, medical history and personal details are valuable pickings to the cybercriminal market which is currently estimated to be worth £27bn per annum in the UK alone. But schools are not security experts, that is not their business. And with the upsurge in changes to the threat landscape, automated attacks on networks means security is more significant now than ever before.

For the schools who have this covered – great. For the schools that think they have this covered and for the schools that don’t – read on to find out what to do to protect your networks and data.

The NEN 10-step checklist, produced by The Education Network made up of not-for-profit and public bodies, provides useful guidance. They advise that “you must understand where the responsibilities for maintaining all systems and processes reside: some may be maintained in-house while others may be provided by your broadband supplier or another third party.” The checklist can be found at www.nen.gov.uk/10-steps-to-protect-your-schools-network-a-guide-for-school-leaders.

More useful information on data protection and what to do if a breach occurs can be found on the Information Commissioner's website: ico.org.uk

Whilst many schools have improved staff training in respect of security, and have established firewalls and virtual private networks, these measures alone are not sufficient to protect against the growing scale of cybercrime. Hardware or on-site firewalls are struggling to keep pace with the avalanche of new threats and the ongoing costs associated with these are substantial. As hardware becomes outdated, budgets become depleted due to a constant demand to pay for extra bolt-ons to keep schools secure.

Unless schools are able to keep pace with changing technology, their networks remain vulnerable. An internet service provider (ISP) with integrated cloud-based security is able to provide schools with the most up-to-date advanced threat protection, giving schools complete peace of mind. The migration from costly on-site premise equipment opens up a whole new world of security opportunities for schools, who until now have been unable to take advantage of the economies of scale that larger organisations can. A hosted service provides affordable higher grade solutions that wouldn’t otherwise be in the financial reach of a small school.

"Whilst many schools have improved staff training in respect of security, and have established firewalls and virtual private networks, these measures alone are not sufficient to protect against the growing scale of cybercrime"

Large upfront IT costs become an expenditure of the past, with complexity, cost and IT resources associated with traditional on-site telco and firewalls all reduced. Software upgrades can be managed automatically ensuring schools are covered with the most up-to-date technology available.

Schools Broadband’s hosted security service is a good example of this. Part of the Talk Straight Group and leaders in the field of managed security, Schools Broadband has certainly set itself apart from other broadband providers. Combining firewall, intrusion prevention and resilient connections into a single system that updates every hour means networks are protected against the latest and most advanced threats.

In addition to security, Schools Broadband’s Filtering from Lightspeed System is designed specifically for schools and is one of the most sophisticated web filtering systems on the market. Their network security, powered by Fortinet (who are global leaders in next generation firewalls) means Schools Broadband is not taking any chances. They are addressing the needs of schools with the most stringent security and web filtering required to protect our schools from the onslaught of cybercriminals.

All web filtering and security is provided as standard with every broadband connection Schools Broadband provide.

Schools Broadband can be contacted on 0113 3 222 333 or info@schoolsbroadband.co.uk. W: www.schoolsbroadband.co.uk

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