For the first time ever the National Cyber Security Centre has provided guidance to Early Years providers on protecting themselves from cyber security attacks and hacking. The advice comes as part of the increasing prevalence of technology, from tablets to smart devices, inside nurseries and childcare settings.
“We know that incidents affecting the education sector are increasingly common, so it’s vital that all providers know how to secure their devices and sensitive data. As many Early Years practitioners work on their own without dedicated IT support, this guidance sets out the practical first steps they can take to protect themselves from cyber incidents.
Sarah Lyons, NCSC Deputy Director for Economy and Society Engagement
- Backing up your important information – identifying what data you couldn’t operate without or are legally obliged to safeguard and creating a proper back-up.
- Using passwords to control access to your computers and information – switching on password protection; using strong passwords and password managers; setting up two-factor authentication and communicating safely with families
- Protecting your devices from viruses and malware – turning on antivirus products and keeping IT devices up to date
- Dealing with suspicious messages (phishing attacks) – tips for spotting suspect messages and unusual requests, reporting these messages and what to do if you have already responded.
The advice is part of a wider government push, with the NCSC and other public sector security organisations, to respond to an increase in online activity and cyber crime attacking key sectors.
Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford commented: “It is paramount that early years settings have robust cyber security in place to help them communicate with children, families and staff delivering early education and childcare provision safely.
“Like most professions, the early years sector is increasingly reliant on technology and this new guidance will support them with protecting sensitive data and minimising the risk and detriments of a cyber security incident.
“Education settings are directly responsible for their own security and data protection so I encourage all early years providers to take steps to improve their resilience online.”
The NCSC brings together experts from organisations such as the CESG, a part of GCHQ, the Centre for Cyber Assessment, CERT-UK, and the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure, to provide a single point of contact for SME’s, private organisations and government departments to improve the UK’s cybersecurity security and resilience.