The last year has brought on a raft of changes that we couldn’t have foreseen; a global pandemic, remote learning and, in many cases, remote working
Schools have been impacted on various fronts, having a duty of care to provide education to vulnerable and key worker children in school and remote learning to all children, at a time when more staff have been absent due to COVID. If this isn’t enough for schools to worry about, the increase in remote working has seen cybercrime soar.
Previously, you may have self-managed staff absence but, as insurance experts to the education sector, we understand more schools may prefer to have the reassurance that a staff absence insurance policy can offer, particularly one that covers COVID absences.
We have listened to schools, academies and MAT’s, and we now offer optional COVID cover with our staff absence insurance.
Education sector vulnerable to cyber-attacks
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in cyber-attacks. Specialist cyber insurer CFC has seen seven or eight notifications each day, with over 50% of these relating to the theft of funds or ransomware.*
Schools can be particularly vulnerable, as they store sensitive information and often have a limited IT budget and old, legacy systems in place. Other factors leaving schools vulnerable, are portable devices and open RDP ports.
Following an incident in March, affecting 50 primary and secondary academies in and around London, where the school’s systems suffered a ransomware attack, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a warning that hackers are targeting schools.**
Elsewhere, Wisepay, the school payments service, had its website hacked. The attacker harvested payment details by using a spoof web page, with approximately 300 schools being affected by the scam.***
What can you do to protect your school?
- Training – ensure your staff receive regular training in relation to the threats of cybercrime, and understand the risks involved. Regularly implement password resets and use complex passwords that are harder to crack.
- Ensure that staff understand the reporting process, should they become aware of a data breach/loss of laptop etc.
- Multi-factor authentication –adopting a system that automatically implements a two-factor authentication will give you additional protection should a password be breached. If not, ensure that all sensitive documents are password protected and follow the protocols.
- Back up data – regular back-ups of data are essential to protect your school in the event of a cyber-attack. Ensure that the back-ups are stored on a separate server to your main data store.
- Consider professional support – this can provide you with an immediate response to guide you through the event, supporting you through the lifecycle of the incident/claim and get you up and running as soon as possible.
To find out how we can help protect your school with COVID and cyber cover, or for more information about our range of school insurance policies, call us on 01438 739626, email [email protected] or visit our website.
*CFC Underwriting – https://www.cfcunderwriting.com/en-gb/products/class/cyber/
***Wisepay – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-54465359
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