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UK Education Cyber Security Resilience

Colleges and universities around the UK are facing a surge in cyber security attacks, such as ransomware and business email compromise (BEC).

Housing significant volumes of sensitive and personal student and staff data, intellectual property and innovators of world-leading research, education institutions are a tempting target for cybercriminals.

In 2020, the pandemic resulted in a sudden shift to remote learning with schools, colleges and universities around the world closing their premises. With such an accelerated move to deliver learning and teaching remotely, along with the unique, frequent changing community of users, British education institutions have become a persistent target with countless cases reported, disrupting services and infrastructure.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), warned institutions in September 2020, then again in February 2021, and also in June 2021, as they observed an alarming increase in ransomware attacks, further emphasising the urgency of organisations in the sector to be prepared for cyber-attacks and improve their cyber security.

Quorum Cyber is committed to ensuring the education sector is resilient against these evolving attacks and is proud to partner with educational establishments across the UK to combat some of the biggest challenges they face.

Cyber-attacks in the education sector are not slowing down

With rapid change comes uncertainty. UK education institutions have become a frequent and persistent target for cybercriminals, with countless cases disrupting university, college and school services and infrastructure.


of universities reported a data breach in the past 12 months to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)


of UK universities have been subject to ransomware attacks in the last 10 years - TopLine Comms Freedom of Information request


of further education colleges experience breaches or attacks at least once a week - The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)


(£910,000) paid by University of California, San Francisco after a month-long standoff with hackers in June 2020 - IT Governance

Some of the biggest cyber security challenges facing the education sector

The huge shift in normal teaching and learning practices, resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, along with the challenges of securing large volumes of data for a frequently changing community, a shortage of cyber security professionals and resources, and budget constraints can be extremely overwhelming.


Securing and housing large volumes of data
UK education establishments hold huge volumes of intellectual property and sensitive data, further exposed with data increasingly held on devices outside of educational premises.

Large student populations connecting to networks
A vast and frequently changing community makes ensuring network access is granted appropriately, difficult. Just one compromised credential can allow an attacker to gain access.

Lack of asset visibility
In a time of uncertainty, more systems are used to support remote learning and education, making it difficult to maintain an understanding of all assets within your environment.

Highly targeted by threat actors
Attackers know when to target organisations, witnessed when attackers struck as education establishments geared up to welcome students back from an unprecedented situation during the pandemic.

Large number of endpoints
Widespread use of personal devices is common in educational institutions. This, along with the new remote teaching practices, presents further challenges in securing your wider network.

Difficult to train students on security best practice
Good security awareness among staff and students is key. Having a high turnover of students and an evolving use of technology to work or teach remotely presents additional challenges.

Lack of in-house cyber security skills and resource
The global cyber security skills gap means there is a shortage of professionals equipped to deal with the threats facing universities and colleges.

Minimal budgets for security
Facing increased financial pressures following the impact of COVID-19, higher education establishments are challenged to do more with smaller budgets.

SECURITY GUIDANCE - Read the latest Threat Intelligence for Education Institutions

The start of the academic year brings a new set of students and an easy target for phishing emails. Read the latest guidance from our team on how to spot and report phishing emails targeting higher education institutions.

Cyber Security Services for Universities and Colleges

Learn how we are helping educational institutions become better prepared to proactively detect and respond to evolving cyber threats with our comprehensive range of Managed Security Services.

We have a specialist cyber security team who understand your compliance requirements, the persistent threats relevant to your industry, and the mounting pressures to preserve the reputation of your institution. Our teams become an extension of your in-house teams, delivering a tailored service that focuses on critical threats, effectively reducing cyber security risk.


Support & Advice for Education Establishments

If you are looking for support or advice, our friendly team would love to talk to you.

Why choose Quorum Cyber as your trusted education cyber security partner?

Quorum Cyber is an award-winning Microsoft Solutions Partner for Security and member of the Microsoft Intelligence Security Association (MISA), one of just a few UK-based companies to hold this distinction, specialising in cyber security managed and consulting services. We are accredited by CREST for the delivery of Vulnerability Assessments, Penetration Testing and Cyber Security Incident Response.

Reduce your academic institution's cyber risk

Round-the-clock detection and response, for a fraction of the cost of building on-site teams and capabilities

Meet higher education compliance and regulatory obligations

Our service is delivered entirely in your environment, ensuring data ownership

Make the case for cyber security spend in higher education

Pay-as-you-go subscription, based on the number of people we protect and signals in-scope

Realise the gaps in the configuration of your Microsoft Office 365

Let us help make the most of your existing investments, without the need to invest in further solutions

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