Digital safety and security have shifted from being a good-to-know to a need-to-know basis, especially for high schools in Kenya.
As a teacher or principal, you play a very important role in protecting your school’s and your students’ data. But luckily, you don’t have to figure this out on your own.
In this blog post, we’ll review the five most important cybersecurity tips to ensure you have a safe online experience.
1. Host Your Data on Cloud Servers
As tempting as it may be to store your data in well-organized Excel sheets and store them on your computer, please avoid this at all costs, especially when you’re storing sensitive information like school fees or your students’ medical information. If a virus attacks your computer’s software, you risk losing everything.
That’s why the best option is to use cloud servers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), which launched a development center in Nairobi on October 4th.
AWS is pocket-friendly for schools on a tight budget, and it also has a free tier where you can explore some of its services for free.
This means that you can access your school’s data from anywhere as long as you have either a smartphone or a laptop. Plus, cloud servers are very secure, and they can ensure your data is always protected.
2. Use Strong Passwords
Another way that cybercriminals can gain access to your accounts is by guessing or brute forcing your passwords. To prevent this attack, use strong and different passwords for each account that you have.
A good password should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
For example, if you’re a teacher at Kenya High, a good password can be Passw0rd!KeH1gh
Passw0rd!: This combines uppercase and lowercase letters with a unique character (!), making your password secure.
KeH1gh: This represents your school, Kenya High, ensuring your password is both secure and easy to remember.
Lastly, never auto-save your passwords on a shared computer. And if you find it hard to remember your passwords, consider using a password vault such as LastPass that will safely store them for you.
3. Learn to Recognise Phishing Attempts
Let’s take this example: you’re back home from a long day of teaching in school, and you receive an email from your bank.
The email asks you to verify your account details urgently. But you notice that the email address is misspelled or has weird characters, such as @bsa instead of Absa. This is a phishing attempt.
Phishing is a cyber attack that hackers use to trick people into giving away their information.
To protect yourself and your school’s data, avoid clicking on suspicious emails, messages, or links that ask you for your personal details.
Sometimes, just clicking the emails is enough to infect your computer with a virus, and you might end up losing all your data.
4. Keep Your Software Up to Date
One of the best ways to protect yourself from cyber security attacks is to keep your software and operating system up to date. Cybercriminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems.
Therefore, you can protect yourself by ensuring you always have the latest security updates installed for your operating system and all the software you use.
5. Continue Educating Yourself and Others
Lastly, try to stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and educate your fellow teachers, students, and even parents on the importance of online safety.
If you’re a principal in a Kenyan high school, consider organizing regular training sessions for your staff and sharing with them resources that they may need.
Hackers are notorious for asking for up to millions when they hack a system, so in this case, prevention will always be better than cure.
By following these five cybersecurity tips, you can protect your school’s data and enhance online safety in Kenyan high schools.
Remember that as a teacher, your role goes beyond mentoring and teaching academic subjects; it also includes protecting your students' digital well-being.
So stay proactive, and together, we can create a safe and secure online environment for everyone.