How educational institutions can improve the security of online learning


Education is very different today than it used to be few years ago. While e-learning was already present at the time, it represented only a small percentage of all educational institutions. Due to the pandemic, schools, colleges and all forms of educational institutions had to find a way to move their processes and procedures online in order to accommodate restrictions and ensure that learning progress of their students do not suffer.

Even when restrictions eased and it was possible to return to physical locations, a large number of institutions decided to stay online because they realized how more convenient and accessible it was. But while they focused on making the process run smoothly, e-learning security was not as high a priority as it should have been. Cyber ​​attacks have caused many schools and colleges to delay classes or even pay a ransom to regain access to their servers.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to improve the security of online learning.

Set up cybersecurity tools

It is imperative that all educational institutions implement appropriate cybersecurity tools to protect their employees, students and data. Tools like a firewall and virus protection, browser fingerprint, data enrichment, end-to-end encryption, and multi-level verification are the first line of defense and, when used correctly, can prevent cyber attacks from causing damage.

Update all

This is actually the easiest step you can take to keep online learning safe, as you can complete it just by turning on automatic system updates. By keeping your operating system, programs, and applications up to date, you can remove any security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors.

Although educational institutions only have control of their equipment, they should educate their students on the importance of keeping their equipment up to date to ensure safety on both sides.

Secure file sharing

Regardless of the type of educational institution, students and teachers or instructors should have a secure method for sharing their files. By implementing a policy that imposes file sharing requirements and procedures, providing a secure connection for downloads, and encrypting files, you can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach or ransomware attack. Make sure to make this process as easy as possible as students will have different levels of technical knowledge.

Back up all files

Having a backup can mean the difference between having all of your data hostage forcing you to pay the ransom or using your backup and resuming normal business operations. Once you determine what data should be backed up, you need to make sure to back it up regularly.

Provide regular training

Make sure you provide cybersecurity training on a regular basis to all of your employees and students to make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities for mitigating cybersecurity risks. They should be aware of the cybersecurity threats they may face, how to avoid them or how to react if they occur.

The University of Utah had to pay the cybercriminals almost half a million dollars after a ransomware attack on some of its computer servers, and this is just one of the many educational institutions that have fallen victim to cyber attacks. By following these steps and being proactive, you can avoid becoming one of them.

Featured Image: cottonbro, Unsplash.


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