The need for a compliant cyber security strategy in education

With cyber attacks currently being a huge risk to the education sector, ensuring a strong and robust cyber security strategy is essential. Read on as Mel Underwood, Governance, Risk Compliance & Environment Business Development Manager at Phoenix, looks at how to mitigate risks by ensuring full governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) best practises.

The increasing need for a GRC focused cyber security strategy in education

Cyber security is a huge focus for educational organisations, with Aix-Marseille, the largest French University, having been hit with a damaging cyber attack in recent weeks. This has led to doubts from educational organisations as to whether their cyber security strategy is strong enough.

Phishing is an increasingly prevalent form of attack, with 91% of all cyber attacks being phishing based. Educational organisations are at a particular risk due to the number of documents that are shared, viewed, and downloaded internally – this means that staff and students are less vigilant when viewing emails. With phishing attacks becoming more sophisticated and realistic, it’s increasingly important to adapt your cyber security strategy.

Top GRC cyber security strategy best practises

Implementing cyber security best practises is a huge step to strengthening your online strategy. Educational institutions manage a large amount of sensitive information, confidential documents, and data, further highlighting the need for a cyber strategy with an integral governance, risk, and compliance focus. We advise the following cyber security best practises to protect your staff, students, and faculty:

  • Visibility: having a good understanding of your weaknesses is the first step to protecting your organisation. Carrying out regular vulnerability scans and penetration tests ensures that there are no gaps in your security, and enables you to test how well your processes handle real-world attacks. Having visibility of how attackers gain access to your environment, data, and credentials already puts you ahead of the curve
  • Regular training: communicating the severity and dangers of malware attacks ensures employees and students think twice when opening potentially dangerous emails
  • Modern incident response plans: having an up-to-date incident response plan in place to manage and respond in the instance of an attack is critical. Having guidance ensures that the response to an attack is appropriate, reducing the level of impact
  • Supplier Assurance-as-a-Service: there has been an increase in attacks where the point of breach has been with a supplier of the organisation. With this concern, the implementation of Supplier Assurance-as-a-Service assists in managing and mitigating risks associated with third party suppliers, enabling you to safeguard your data while maintaining compliance
  • Digital transformation: with the increase in home learning, tech is being utilised more frequently. This highlights the need to update policies and processes regularly to protect your organisation from breaches

With the education sector being largely affected by cyber attacks, it’s important to reduce the risk and minimise the impact by ensuring your cyber security strategy is resilient and complete.

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A cyber security strategy is vital for all organisations to prevent against a breach. Chat to one of our specialists to talk more about implementing GRC best practises into your cyber strategy.

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Melissa Underwood
Melissa Underwood

Guest Author