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Stats reveal lack of security training across schools, colleges and universities in the North West

Wirral based NW Security Group, a leading provider of security systems, consultancy and training services based in The Wirral, has found that educational facilities in the North West of England are struggling to deploy adequate measures to protect the personal information of children and teachers that is stored both manually and digitally. This is despite recent new regulation that requires them to do so.

A survey of 500 head teachers, governors, IT, security and facility managers at secondary and tertiary education institutions in the region found that 31% of respondents do not believe their employees and contractors are adequately trained in activities to safeguard private details such as video footage, photos, health records, exam results and more. Furthermore, 64% of those who had heard of the new EU data protection legislation, the GDPR, still needed further information regarding its impact.

Nigel Peers, Senior Security Consultant at NW Security Group, states, “Every school, college and university employee, from the head teacher to the receptionist, plays a vital role in protecting the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that is generated and stored within a facility. Above and beyond a cyber-attack, a breach can also refer to sending an email containing personal information about someone to the wrong person, openly discussing personal details or leaving hard-copy materials in plain sight. If front-line staff are not trained to both identify what a data breach is and how to respond to it, the likelihood of keeping private information safe is severely reduced.”

The NW Security Group survey also found that:

  • 78% of respondents believe their facility has an access control security system in place, with adequate policies and procedures set regarding how to use this system
  • Despite 90% of schools, colleges and universities having a member of staff responsible for the administration of an access control system, only 51% were trained in security awareness
  • In an emergency, 16% of schools couldn’t produce a list of staff and students currently on site

Nigel Peers continues, “Access control is a crucial security system that schools deploy to ensure the protection of staff and students, but if this isn’t being utilised correctly, not only could it lead to leaks of personal information, but it could also leave a school open to unwanted intruders. While it is a positive step that 78% of educational facilities in the North West are actively promoting access control, if this technology is not being utilised in a way that protects PII and provides vital insights to support an emergency, such as an intruder, fire or lockdown, the benefits of such an investment won’t be realised.”