School IT safeguarding is one of the most frequently talked about topics in the education sector. With 60% of 11 to 12 years olds on social media and over one in three internet users a child, it’s safe to say that the next generation is of a digital age. However, the usage and confidence in today’s youth do not translate to a specific level of capability in using online platforms safely. Without extensive online experience and mature critical thinking skills, unfortunately, it’s incredibly easy for children to becomes vulnerable through access to harmful content.
It’s imperative that schools are implementing specific processes to keep students safe, and for this to happen, teachers must feel confident providing that support. At Nutbourne, we’re going to take a closer look at the processes your school should have in place.
Although ‘virus protection’ as a term seems a little outdated, having good malware threat protection is the most basic safeguarding step that schools should already have. Without streamlined antivirus software, the internet is a dangerous place to navigate. Viruses don’t just affect what you are browsing, but it could affect your infrastructure and equipment, so much that it can become unusable. By having virus protection in place, you’re taking a precautionary measure to keep your students safe, but also, your technological setup.
Advanced cybersecurity software is the most proactive approach to viruses and malware. Real time solutions, such as those offered by Nutbourne, will keep your school protected and detect threats before they affect your computers, filter out unwanted emails and more with our advanced cybersecurity software.
Web filtering software in schools is an important part of school IT safeguarding. In essence, web filtering allows you to restrict the websites that can be accessed on the school premises. This fundamental safeguarding process makes the internet a much safer space and is an absolute necessity to aid the safety of students.
Web filtering and restricted access come in a couple of different forms, but DNS, URL and Page filtering are compulsory in a school environment. DNS filtering, or Domain Name System filtering, allows you to block entire domains from being accessed. In order for a website to be displayed, your browser needs to know where to look. To do this, a query is sent to a DNS when you enter a website’s URL. The DNS will then tell your browser what IP address to connect to so you can see the website. DNS filtering can block IP addresses that are deemed to host viruses or originate from a location that is known to be where cyber-crime is rife.
On the other hand, page filtering, works at the URL level. If you want to block users from accessing Tik Tok you can block “tiktok.com” rather than having to find the related IP address. You can also block whole categories, such as social media or game sites, as URLs are categorised by a web filtering database.
Having said that, DNS filtering can be difficult task. You certainly don’t want to block any useful content or learning facilities. Maybe there is an educational documentary on iPlayer or Netflix? It’s much better if you can provide specific access to different people or manage groups in a hierarchy.
User hierarchy is a simple school IT safeguarding tool that ensures limited access of data and websites for students. In its simplest terms, user hierarchy consists of a tree of users on a system that is split into groups. Depending on the group the user is in, it means that different levels of online access and data permissions are in place. This simple method helps to safeguard pupils from accessing inappropriate content but allows teachers to gain access to helpful learning platforms like YouTube, to facilitate studies. Similarly, the user hierarchy means protection of restricted access for certain folders where GDPR is involved and can also prevent staff from accidently clicking on harmful content.
School is a great time to learn about the importance of password protection. Teaching children why we use them, the definition of a good password and how to remember them is the best place to start. For students, we recommend a string of 3 or more unrelated words that could be easily remembered. It’s important to elaborate that it’s counterproductive to write a password down. Should this be discovered, their computer becomes unsafe and unsecure as anyone can access it.
Phishing attacks and spam emails are constantly evolving and increasing, even within the remit of schools. It is one of the most common ways that harmful malware can latch on and spread throughout business systems. Having the right protocol in place will help to safeguard your students, alongside teaching them exactly what to look out for. As part of your school IT safeguarding, instil that legitimate senders will never request sensitive data via email and any URLs sent will match their actual site, as opposed to the slightly different URLs spammers use. If something doesn’t look right, then it probably isn’t and if you don’t know the sender, you should not respond and tell a member staff.
If you have any questions about school IT safeguarding, staying safe online, or anything to do with internet cybersecurity, we’ll have the answers. Whatever you need, just give us a call.
So, if you’d like to find out more about our school IT safeguarding and how they can help your school, then get in touch! Contact Nutbourne today on +44 (0) 203 7273 or by filling out an enquiry form on our website.