Academia, is your Security up to Scratch?

The UK education sector faces further disruption on top of the COVID-19 crisis, as numerous academic institutions fall prey to cyber-attacks. Top universities including Newcastle and Northumbria are among those hit, affecting exams and clearing, leaving devastation that could take weeks or even months to fix. With the new, and potentially online-only academic year starting, are you confident that your security measures are up to scratch?

The impact of a cyber attack

The severity of the situation has led the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to issue a nation-wide alert, warning other academic institutions of the increasing ransomware attacks. This type of malware blocks a user from accessing systems, as well as the data on them. Your data is encrypted and at the mercy of the attacker, once frozen by the malware.

Students and staff returning to education need to regularly and remotely access online systems, and are depending upon your organization to keep their information safe. Online systems and the sensitive information they hold are more vulnerable when working from home, so it’s vital that organizations are prepared. If not, the consequences will be severe. Under the Data Protection Act of 1998, the University of Greenwich has recently been fined £120,000 after a data breach in which the personal information of 19,500 students was leaked online.

In the event of a security breach, could your academic institution continue to function? Without access to essential computer systems and services, as well as communication networks and websites, would your institution continue to deliver the quality academic experience promised to students? One aspect bound to cause significant distress to students are any issues with finance. If online financial services were compromised, students could lose irreplaceable funds through stolen card details, ruining their academic experience. How can you reassure students that their bank details are safe?

The solution

To give your students peace of mind, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliance is vital. PCI-DSS compliant payments follow a strict set of requirements governing the storage, processing and transmission of cardholder data. This provides a safe environment for customer details, whether handled by automation or an agent-assisted payment, maximizing the security of card transactions.

storm® provides Level 1 PCI-DSS compliance for over-the-phone payments, including DTMF tone suppression, ensuring that prying eyes and ears never come into contact with customer data. The storm solution is trusted by one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities, to meet the challenges of one of the busiest periods in the academic calendar.