18 Oct Promoting Cyber Safety in Schools
Ensuring online safety for students and staff is a critical responsibility for every school. Here are some simple steps you can take to be cyber ready without stretching your budget:
1. Emphasise strong password practices
- Encourage the creation of strong, unique passwords for all school-related accounts.
- Educate staff and students on the importance of using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols in their passwords.
2. Keep systems and software updated
- Regularly update the operating systems and software on school computers/laptops.
- Stay on top of security patches and updates, which often contain vital protections against cyber threats.
3. Provide phishing awareness training
- Conduct training sessions to educate staff (and students) about identifying and avoiding phishing emails.
- Teach them not to click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown sources.
- Remember, the first line of defence is ‘me’.
4. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- Enable multi-factor authentication for school accounts and systems whenever possible.
- This extra layer of security provides an additional barrier against unauthorised access.
5. Establish a data backup protocol
- Implement a routine data backup system for critical school files and documents.
- Utilise free cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox to securely store backups.
6. Strengthen Wi-Fi network security
- Change the default password for the school’s Wi-Fi router to a strong, unique one.
- Enable encryption protocols (WPA2 or WPA3) to prevent unauthorised access to the network.
7. Foster a culture of cyber awareness
- Keep staff and students informed about common online threats and best practices for staying safe.
- Share free online resources and educational materials to enhance cyber awareness.
8. Limit the sharing of personal information
- Encourage caution when sharing personal information on school-related platforms and social media.
- Advise against posting sensitive details like home addresses or financial information.
9. Ensure secure connections
- Teach students to look for “https://” in website addresses to verify a secure connection.
- Caution against using public Wi-Fi for activities involving sensitive information, like online banking.
Conclusion: A Cyber Safe School Community
By following these simple steps and promoting cyber awareness among staff and students, schools can help protect their educational community from cyber threats. Remember, every student and staff member deserves a safe and secure digital learning environment.