21 Feb 2023

Three ways to stay safe online

Our reliance on digital technology has increased over the past few years with consumers looking for more convenient channels in which to work, live and study.

Organisations and education establishments have become more accustomed to online activity than ever before as a new era of hybrid working, online course delivery and virtual assessments are now considered the ‘new norm'.

Whilst digital innovations continue to evolve to keep up with this demand, unfortunately, cyber and malware attacks on businesses and education establishments are also on the rise. However, there are steps education providers can take to reduce the risk of an attack from occurring.

  1. Passwords

Passwords provide the first line of defence against unauthorised access to your computer and personal information. The stronger your password, the more protected your computer will be from hackers and malicious software. Using a unique password for each account means that even in the event of a data breach in one of the services you use, your other accounts are not at risk.

  1. Storage

Consider where you store information such as learners' portfolio of evidence. Is it on your own servers or do you use cloud services? Do you know where that information is actually stored or how secure it is?

At its most basic, the cloud refers to any type of software or service that isn't located on your personal computer or devices, but instead runs on the internet. The data that you save on cloud services are stored on the servers of third parties - companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. You can then access the data whenever you use a device connected to the internet.

These servers are usually located in warehouses that you, or your colleagues, won't have access to and the files are encrypted or scrambled, which makes it far harder for cyber criminals to access.

Your cloud service should have:

  • consistent security updates
  • built-in firewalls
  • ultra-backed-up data - so if your cloud provider suffers a natural disaster or large-scale outage you can still access your data.

What precautions can you take to boost your cloud security?

  • encrypt your data
  • enable two-factor authentication
  • perform regular data backups

  1. Back-ups

The main reason for data backup is to save important files if a system crashes or hard drive failure occurs. You should also consider additional data backups if the original backups result in data corruption or hard drive failure. If everything is stored in one location, it could mean the potential loss of all of your centre and learner information. In the worst-case scenario, the exam or quality assurance activity could coincide with the cyber-attack with the potential to impact your learners' achievement as they might be unable to complete their exams or present evidence for final certification.

Contracted requirements

Providers have a requirement to retain learner evidence after certification, often for a long period of time so it is essential you have the correct procedures in place to store this information securely.

Help and advice

Make sure you're up to date with the latest legislations and be more Cyber Aware.

AIM offers a suite of cyber and digital security qualifications to support providers and employers prepare the workforce to meet the increasing threat to information and systems from malicious attack. Discover our suite of Cyber Security qualifications aimed at developing knowledge and practical skills to understand and manage cyber security in a business environment here.

AIM is a national and international leading Awarding Organisation and End-Point Assessment Organisations offering award winning qualifications and nominated end-point assessment services. Discover more about what we do at: www.aim-group.org.uk