You’d be hard-pressed to check the news these days and not see a story about a security threat and, for schools, it is just as important to have the resources in place to be able to protect yourselves.
Have you ever wondered what could happen if a member of staff lost their laptop? It can be a worrying thought that if it isn’t securely encrypted, someone might be able to gain access to valuable information.
It was recently reported in the news that a school in Northern Ireland had 19 laptops stolen while more than £300,000 of computers have been stolen from schools across Greater Manchester. With sensitive pupil data often being stored on laptops and taken away from the office, the implications of it falling into the wrong hands can be potentially devastating.
So how can schools best protect their data? With the right security in place, it becomes much harder for someone to access the data from your computer.
Here's our top three tips on how schools can improve their security:
1. Safeguard your data
There are several ways that you can help to safeguard your data and minimise the risk if your laptop is stolen. Encryption is one of the best known processes to make the data on your laptop fully secure and is even more important if they are often used by staff away from school premises, such as for home working.
Schools need to make sure that they have the right encryption software on their laptops, and this can also be further extended to USB flash drives, hard drives and tablet devices.
This means looking beyond laptops simply being secured with a password and our Laptop Encryption Service is one way to help to make sure that your data will stay safe. It’s a simple process to administer and by removing the danger associated with loss or theft, it will make help to keep your sensitive data safe and secure.
2. Regular backups
With schools having so much valuable information on their systems, it’s imperative that this is protected. In the case of an emergency, if an important file is deleted, your server fails or an accident at your school destroys the data, you want to know you can recover it.
The most common way to do this is by regularly backing up your data, either on your server or by saving data to the cloud. So if the worst should happen, you will still be able to recover it.
With Hosted SIMS, your database will be securely hosted at a Microsoft Azure hosting centre and all back-ups are managed by us by moving SIMS to the cloud. Plus, it removes the need for a dedicated SIMS server in your school, reducing the time required to maintain your IT systems.
3. Managing permissions
Did you know that when a member of staff leaves a school, they might still have remote access to your server? When devices are taken out of school they are much more vulnerable and if they were a remote worker, they might still be able to access data even after they have left.
It’s important for schools to check their permissions to see which staff members have access to certain areas and make sure that any leavers are removed. In SIMS for example, when a member of staff leaves you can simply untick a box which will deny them from having remote access.
From the screenshot below, you’ll see you can click ‘yes’ to see all employees with Active status in SIMS via Focus | Person | Staff. This will allow you to check through the list of names of anybody who should no longer have access to SIMS and be able to deselect the Active box.
With SIMS, you can create and manage users, their permissions and assign individual passwords to better manage your data. If you aren’t familiar with controlling and restricting online access, why not take a look at our SIMS training course on e-safety and digital footprints to help understand the current issues relating to e-safety.
I hope you found these security tips useful. For more information on Hosted SIMS and protecting your school, please visit our product page. If you have a question, please leave a comment below.