Cybercriminals target all businesses and organisations whose networks and systems hold personal and financial information, including education. In fact, cybercrime can have a devastating impact on schools, universities, colleges, academies and online education providers.

So, why do schools need cyber insurance? 

Our Cyber experts explain how cyber insurance policies can be tailored to the education sector and why your school should have one.

Do schools need cyber insurance?

Yes, schools and educational institutions can benefit enormously from having cyber insurance coverage.

Cybercriminals often target schools and other educational organisations as their systems hold the personal and financial information of their staff, students and even parents. 

In addition, educational institutions increasingly rely on digital technology rather than paper files, so most information is stored electronically. This leaves them highly vulnerable to cyber threats, including data breaches, phishing scams and ransomware attacks.

A tailored cyber insurance policy can help mitigate any financial losses associated with cyber incidents, including data recovery costs, notification expenses, legal fees and even extortion payments in the case of ransomware attacks.

Cyber insurance also provides access to experts who can help schools recover from cyber incidents quickly and effectively. Bearing in mind the potentially catastrophic impact of cyber threats on finances and reputation, having cyber insurance in place can be an important element of a school’s overall risk management strategy.

What educational facilities need to be protected by cyber insurance?

The following educational facilities should be protected by cyber insurance:

  • Higher education institutions, like colleges and universities, are prime targets for cyberattacks because of their extensive networks and databases containing sensitive student information.

  • Primary and secondary schools store significant amounts of personal information about students, parents and staff online.

  • Technical and vocational schools store personal information and technical data online.

  • Online education providers use online communications networks to exchange information between their lecturers and students.

  • Libraries and learning centres often maintain digital databases, online catalogues, and educational resources that need protection against cyber threats.

  • Nonprofit organisations dedicated to supporting education, funding research, or promoting educational initiatives also need cyber insurance to safeguard their operations and data.

Any educational facility that collects, stores or processes sensitive information electronically or has any kind of online presence should have cyber insurance. It provides support and financial protection to the organisation should a data breach, cyberattack, system failure or any other cyber incident occur that disrupts the facility’s operation or compromises its integrity.

Cyber Essentials for schools, colleges and universities

Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed cybersecurity certification scheme that helps businesses and other organisations, including schools, protect themselves against common cyber threats. Although there isn’t a specific set of Cyber Essentials tailored for schools, colleges and universities, they can still benefit from using the guidelines provided by this initiative. 

Here are some key aspects of Cyber Essentials that educational institutions should consider:

Secure configuration

Cyber Essentials recommends that systems, including firewalls, routers, servers and end-user devices, be securely configured by applying appropriate security settings and regularly updating them.

Firewalls and Internet gateways

Firewalls and Internet gateways should be installed and configured to prevent hackers from accessing the network while allowing legitimate traffic.

Access control and user privileges

Restrict access to sensitive information only to authorised personnel by managing user access rights and permissions.

Patch management

Apply the latest security patches to software and network systems to reduce the risk of cyberattacks.

Malware protection

Install antivirus software to detect and remove malware from systems.

Secure configuration of devices

Ensure that all devices used within the school, including smartphones, computers, laptops and tablets, are kept up to date and configured securely.

User training

Provide cybersecurity awareness training to staff and students to help them recognize and respond to potential cyber threats and cyberattacks promptly and effectively.

Incident response management

Develop and implement procedures for promptly and effectively responding to cybersecurity incidents to minimise their impact.

How does cyber insurance protect schools?

Cyber insurance can protect schools in several ways:

  • Cyber insurance provides financial protection for various costs incurred following a cyber attack. That includes forensic investigations to determine the cause of the systems breach, legal fees, potential fines or penalties and the costs of restoring data and systems that have been compromised or damaged.

  • If the incident compromises the personal information of students, parents, or staff members, cyber insurance covers legal liabilities arising from lawsuits filed against the school.

  • The damage cyber incidents cause can seriously damage a school’s reputation. Cyber insurance can cover public relations and crisis management expenses, helping to restore trust.

  • Schools are subject to various regulations regarding the protection of sensitive data, such as student records and financial information. Cyber insurance can help cover the costs associated with complying with regulatory requirements following a data breach or cyber incident.

  • Many cyber insurance policies offer proactive risk management services, such as cybersecurity assessments, employee training and security awareness programs. That can help reduce the likelihood of a cyberattack happening in the first place.

  • If a cyber incident disrupts normal daily school operations, cyber insurance can provide coverage for the financial losses incurred during the downtime. This can include reimbursement for any lost revenue or extra expenses required to restore operations quickly.

How much does cyber insurance cost for the education sector?

Essentially, there’s no one-size-fits-all figure for the cost of cyber insurance. The premium you pay can vary significantly, depending on the level of risk your educational facility is exposed to. 

At Stanmore Insurance, your agent will provide you with a customised, cost-effective quote for cyber insurance coverage specifically tailored to your needs. Call us today to find out more.

Cyber Insurance with Stanmore

In today’s digital world, educational organisations, including schools, colleges, universities and online providers, are all at risk of cyber attacks.

Fortunately, cyber insurance is there to provide financial protection against the expenses incurred following an incident and help the school get back up and running safely again as quickly as possible. Our dedicated team at Stanmore Insurance can help to protect your institution today.