Toby Lester
2 minutes length
Posted: 30th January 2018

How important is security in your school?

Cyber security has never been more important than in today’s digital world. Only a few weeks ago, The Telegraph reported a huge number of cyber hackers targeting UK private schools with poor online security, leaving many schools questioning, ‘How safe are we?’

For those private schools with unsecure IT systems, cyber-crime is becoming an increasingly likely occurrence. Cyber criminals are able to access the school’s IT system and launch phishing campaigns, some aimed at parents.

What is a phishing campaign?

Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails with the intent of persuading the recipient into revealing personal information, such as credit card details or passwords. To the untrained eye, these communications are difficult to identify, resulting in victims being tricked into providing personal information without a second thought.

Typically, phishing attacks will impersonate a school and target parents, requesting payment details to update their system. Although many parents will reply to the email, requesting more information, they are of course only replying to the cyber-criminal who will reassure them that the email is legitimate. Therefore it is important for organisations, including private schools, to recognise the dangers of, and become more discerning on the topic of cyber-crime.

Fortunately there are a number of controls that schools can put in place to protect their organisation against phishing attacks –

  • Educate your staff and parents! Tell your parents that if in doubt, they should always call your organisation directly to avoid being tricked by emails supposedly signed off from your school.
  • Install a spam filter to identify any suspicious emails or viruses before they hit accounts.
  • Ensure all systems are current with the latest security updates and patches.
  • Implement a security policy which improves password security, expiration and complexity.
  • Encrypt all sensitive organisational information.

Protecting parents from phishing attacks is vitally important for your school’s reputation. By utilising ParentMail’s communications services, parents are far more vigilant and wary of suspicious emails which appear in their email inbox purporting to be from your school. If parents understand they will only receive communications and make payments through ParentMail, they are far less likely to be tricked into providing financial and personal information in response to a phishing campaign.

ParentMail’s messaging and online payments systems are entirely safe and secure; we already have an outstanding reputation with parents! Improve your organisation’s security today – call 01733 595959 or email enquire@parentmail.co.uk and we’ll arrange for a free demonstration to be booked in.