How to boost cyber security at your childcare service today

Young girl sitting cross legged, staring at a smart phone

Boosting cyber security at your childcare service may not seem like an urgent matter, but that can be a dangerous approach.

Research by Australian cyber security firm Kaine Mathrick Tech suggests that 43% of cyber attacks go after small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). SME businesses tend to have fewer cyber security measures in place, making them easier targets. When you need to keep sensitive child data safe, this isn’t a risk you can afford to take.  

And while Australian businesses are targeted by cybercrime every 10 minutes, it’s not all terrible news. There are simple, easy things you can do at your childcare service to avoid being a victim of a cyber attack. Even better, you can do these things yourself without the need for outside assistance. The more measures you put in place, the more challenging you’ll make it for hackers, increasing the likelihood they’ll move on to an easier target. 

Knowledge is power—educate your staff about cyber security at your childcare service

The best (and cheapest) thing you can do to improve cyber security at your childcare service is to educate your staff. This should start with a cyber security policy for your service that is shared with all staff. You can even include a cyber security checklist for staff to follow in different situations, including: 

  • Creating new user accounts for new educators/staff members 
  • How to properly deactivate accounts when staff members leave your service 
  • How to report suspicious activity or emails 
  • What to do in the event of a cyber attack 
An ECE educator reading a book to young children while sitting on the floor

Simply drafting a cyber security policy will help you focus on areas for improvement at your service. You should also set a reminder to regularly review your cyber security policy and update it when necessary. Making your cyber security policy accessible to educators is easy if you create it in Xplor Education’s educator platform, Playground. Playground makes it easy to share your cyber security policy with educators (and parents, if you like), especially after it’s been updated. 

When did you last update your operating system or childcare management software? 

Contrary to popular belief, updating your Windows or Mac operating system (OS) is rarely about new functionality. Then why are you constantly being notified of updates that need to be installed? In a word—security. Hackers find vulnerabilities in operating systems and software platforms. They then determine how they can exploit these vulnerabilities to access sensitive information. Software developers become aware of these vulnerabilities that hackers are exploiting and improve the OS or software to close those vulnerabilities. For the same reasons, it’s vital that you regularly update your childcare management software, as well as any other software you regularly use at your service. 

Whether it’s an update to your computer or phone OS or software you use daily, you can better protect yourself by keeping your devices and platforms updated with all the latest updates or patches. Ignoring these updates can leave you more susceptible to attacks. If a mechanic informed you that your door locks were faulty, would you roll the dice and just “hope” no one broke into your car while you were shopping? Or would you get them fixed and go shopping in comfort? 

A young child touches a tablet held by a childcare educator

Speaking of locking doors, it’s crucial that you and your service staff are also in the habit of locking your devices. Though it’s more convenient to leave your computer or phone unlocked if you access it multiple times throughout the day, it’s also much more convenient for someone to gain access to your device. It only takes a few minutes to access and steal sensitive information. Depending on your device, you could set up facial recognition or scan your fingerprint to make unlocking your device quick and simple while at the same time making it much harder for others to access your device. 

It’s your duty to keep child data safe 

Under Quality Area 7 of the National Quality Framework (NQF), childcare services are tasked with the safe storage of child data. These requirements are in addition to the rules and regulations for data privacy outlined in the Privacy Act 1988. In addition to the measures you can take to protect your service, you can also look for childcare management software that prioritises cyber safety. Xplor Education has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to protect childcare service data with bank-level security. We strive to help you keep children safe—and that includes protecting sensitive child data. 

For more tips on boosting cyber security at your childcare service and to learn more about how Xplor Education helps keep your data safe, check out our free Cyber Security for ECE guide

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Dean Comeau

Marketing Team Lead

With a 20+ year career in education, Dean has been writing about Xplor Education’s childcare management software suite for over two and a half years.