Crime in education: Are ageing security systems keeping up with the threat?

Posted May 22nd, 2017 by Paul Sandford

Crime in education: Are ageing security systems keeping up with the threat?With the recent news that close to 1,400 weapons were seized in UK schools over the last year , representing a year-on-year rise of 20 per cent, it is clear security remains high on the agenda for leaders in the education sector. While many organisations have sought to effectively manage this risk with the use of advanced security systems such as CCTV and access control, the practice has also introduced questions as to how effective these systems are, and whether institutions are adhering to best practice set out by professional bodies such as the NUT and NAHT, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Department for Education.

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Security: A need for effective risk mitigation in education

A number of education facilities have integrated the use of advanced security systems including CCTV to help ease the burden of keeping people and assets secure. From protecting school grounds, combating bullying to ensuring the welfare of staff, the benefits are already being realised by institutions across the UK. At the same time, however, the increased level of surveillance, and amount of data captured has led to a need for clearer systems and management in place. A report by the University of Salford, for example, identified several educational establishments were breaking data protection laws by failing to inform pupils they were being monitored by CCTV in schools.

Furthermore, a number of institutions continue to use legacy technology, realising only when footage is required that images are too difficult to retrieve or are of such poor quality that they are unusable. Not only does this type of practice expose organisations to the penalties imposed by organisations such as the ICO, but a lack of robust systems & processes can also result in video evidence that cannot be upheld in a Court of Law. As demonstrated by the recent WannaCrypt ransomware incident, with public sector organisations across the UK’s data held to ransom, cybersecurity is also a key consideration, with a need to ensure technology is regularly reviewed to ensure its security.

In order for security systems to provide a return on the investment originally made and effectively support safeguarding practice in education, there is a need for their continuous review with regular examination of technical performance and infallibility. As the reliance on advanced security systems in the sector continues to rise, combined with an ageing infrastructure and a rapidly evolving cyber-threat landscape, the challenge will impact everyone from Safeguarding Officers to IT Managers. In line with best practice, many organisations choose to conduct a yearly ‘health check’ to ensure their institution, assets and people are fully protected and that their systems continue to be effective.

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Security: A need for effective risk mitigation in education

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