Cyber threats are now considered to be the top threat to organisations across the globe. According to the 2015 Business Continuity Institute Horizon Scan survey report, 82% of participants expressed concern or extreme concern in relation to cyber threats such as direct, malicious cyber-attacks, accidental information loss or misuse, and physical system failures.
The world is becoming more complex, more chaotic, and more risky. There is no doubt that modern technology has brought huge benefits to the education system. However, as schools become ever more reliant on technology, the risk of a cyber-attack becomes ever more prevalent.
Recent figures show that cybercrime costs the UK economy £27 billion per year and attacks on smaller establishments are becoming a growing trend –schools are more at risk than ever before.
We’re all aware that schools face a wide range of risks which vary in degrees of severity. The mismanagement of any risk, including cyber, can be highly detrimental to a school and can cause serious financial and reputational implications, long after an event has occurred.
Such risks therefore need to be reflected in a schools formal risk management strategy, especially given emerging and non-regulated risks like cyber can be easily overlooked.
To protect a school’s data, staff and pupils from cyber issues such as malware, phishing scams, email attacks and beyond, a number of steps must be taken. Firewalls, encryption and data backup provisions are obvious ﬁrst steps in reducing cyber risk. Effective prevention should also consider processes and education. Strong planning is vital to ensure prevention measures are in place and to provide an action plan in order to reduce damages should an incident arise. However, it is the education of staff and students that will be the schools most potent weapon against cyber criminals.
Hands-on support from an experienced insurer is critical and can also help minimise disruption and get classrooms open again as quickly as possible after an event.
Schools should work closely and build strong relationship with their insurer or risk provider to improve their resilience against possible threats. Zurich Municipal employ years of experience in risk, underwriting and claims to provide protection and assistance to meet schools’ individual needs. We also have strong relationships with specialist partners that can support the restoration of lost data in the event of a cyber-attack.
With this support in place, schools can proactively manage and minimise their risks, as well as having the peace of mind that they have a suitable partner to turn to should things go wrong.
For more information or guidance on any of the issues raised please contact Zurich Municipal at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit zurichmunicipal.co.uk.
You can read more newsworthy articles around other key topics within the education sector at :
• Zurich Muncipal’s News & Views webpage: newsandviews.zurich.co.uk
• Zurich Municipal’s education partner zone on the Guardian website: theguardian.com/teacher-network/partner-zone-zurich