Cybersecurity for Educational Institutions in 2021

May 14, 2021

Guest Post: This article from TurnOnVPN provides a focus on cybersecurity for educational institutions

Cybersecurity for Educational Institutions in 2021

Despite the numerous advantages the internet provides for its users, it also comes with associated dangers.

Virtually Anything can be Attacked

As the data produced by the world increases, so has the number of criminals trying to steal and trade these data. Cyberattacks are everywhere, and almost everyone actively using the internet has been a victim of an attack.

These attacks vary in form and degree – some are minimal in damage and the user may not even notice, leading many to believe they have never been cyberattacked.

For other individuals and establishments, the attack may have resulted in the loss of information such as user data and intellectual property, causing them to lose customers or get sued. Other times, their financial assets are attacked and a lot of money is lost.

Reports of cyberattacks in institutions such as schools have become more frequent as most schools do not take strong measures to reinforce their security systems. In this piece, I will highlight some of the more common cyber risks faced by educational institutions and how to prevent them.

Cyber risks faced by Teachers and Institutions

  • Hacking – As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, schools had to resort to remote teaching through platforms such as Google meet and Zoom. A breach in the classroom network of one user could leave the remaining students and teacher endangered, allowing the hacker to spy on and access vital establishment information contained on the teacher’s device.
  • Data Breach Very much like public Wi-Fi, the school network is often not properly secured. It might become an easy entry point for cybercriminals to assess information on the school’s database, such as sensitive data like parent’s financial information, or home addresses, date of birth, passport information, and medical history of the A single-entry point could mean the entire database is at risk.

For any institution that wants to protect itself, its staff, and students from any of the above, the following are tips on how to go about doing so.

Cybersecurity for Educational Institutions: How to Stay Protected

  • Use Security Software – Viruses are the most common form of malware, with an average of 4 establishments falling prey by the minute. Installing anti-virus software onto the school’s database would clean out all viruses, prevent new ones from gaining entrance, and perform routine checks to determine potential threats.
  • A VPN is another useful app to have on teacher’s and student’s devices. You can choose a VPN suitable for your device such as a VPN for Windows PC. The app encrypts your traffic and keeps it private from any prying eyes lurking on the same network. Even if you are connected to an open network, your traffic would be kept private and protected.
  • Additional Security – The institution should also consider adding extra layers to its security systems. This should include implementing measures such as encryption of staff and student personal information, regularly scheduled backups of information in the database to cloud storage, as well as requiring Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) at all levels of login to the school’s systems.
  • Proper Education Schools are tasked with educating the staff on the importance of cybersecurity but also how to identify, avoid and deal with cyber threats. This should also extend to the students that may make use of the laptops and computer systems in the school as they are all in connection with the other devices that contain sensitive information.
  • Update OS – Operating systems are the core of any device which is why it is a major target by cybercriminals. OS manufacturers realize this risk and therefore put constant effort in finding new ways to deal with breaches and bugs in the program. These added protection methods are embedded in the update for the OS, which is why it is important to regularly update the program to have the added security.


It is relatively known that most computers in a school system come equipped with a Windows Operating system (OS), because of its easy-to-use user interface. However, Windows OS has gotten more attention from cybercriminals as it is more commonly used around the world. Make sure you have the measures in place to stay protected.