Digital trends in education: why education providers are ramping up their cybersecurity

More and more education providers are taking steps to address cybersecurity in their organisations. What is driving this trend and why?


As a digital workplace services provider, we witness digital trends in education in real time. This means we see first-hand the typical challenges these organisations face on a day-to-day basis, and the new solutions, services, and technologies they introduce to address them. Indeed, all our customers rely on our expertise to guide them on their digital transformation journey and help them prepare, integrate, and deploy these solutions.

So, over time, we see how each industry vertical is managing their transformation, and what specific technologies are solving their immediate needs. Of course, there are broad workplace trends that influence all organisations. But sometimes the timing of when the trends become super relevant for specific industries and verticals can be interesting.

Digital trends in education

Cybersecurity in the public sector as a whole.

In the past 18 months, we’ve noticed many educational establishments have identified the need to take specific steps to address data and end-user security. It was predicted that 2023 would see digital and IT leaders in the public sector prioritising consolidation of the rapid digital and technology deployment necessitated by the pandemic, with a focus on retrofitting cybersecurity improvements and management controls to new flexible ways of working.

Cyber resilience risks and data exploitation opportunities are at the top of the list across all public sector organisations and countries in 2023. Digital programmes and new technologies will also accelerate over the next year. These technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and distributed data models, but it is the digital trends that dominate – how technology can address the local impact of many global challenges.

Personal data is driving the need for additional security.

With technology quickly becoming such a critical feature in the daily lives of students and teachers, security has become a necessary trend in the digital education revolution.

Education institutions handle a vast amount of sensitive data, including student records, financial information, and research data. Protecting this data is crucial to comply with data protection regulations (such as GDPR in Europe) and to maintain the privacy of students, staff, and stakeholders. Security protocols that allow schools to record, store and transmit sensitive student data will be critical throughout the digital transformation.

Online learning and regulatory compliance.

With the proliferation of online learning platforms and digital tools, educational institutions have become more reliant on technology. This increased digital presence also exposes them to a higher risk of cyber threats. Remote learning and the use of various online tools require robust security measures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of educational resources.

The shift to online learning has also placed more emphasis on regulatory compliance. Education providers need to adhere to specific industry regulations and standards related to end-user protection and cybersecurity standards. Failing to comply with these regulations can result in legal consequences, financial penalties, and damage to the institution’s reputation.

Research and intellectual property protection.

Universities and research institutions are centres of innovation and intellectual property creation. It’s essential to safeguard research findings, inventions, and other proprietary information against theft or unauthorised access. This is both to protect the institution’s interests and to foster a culture of innovation.

Other institutions, such as student exchange programs, develop significant research projects via collaboration. This interconnectedness increases the potential for cyber threats to cross borders, making it essential for institutions to have robust cybersecurity measures in place.

Digital trends at St Bede’s School

St Bede’s School needed to increase their security confidence and peace of mind while ensuring they maintained learning continuity and safety.  The solution was RansomCare: Ricoh ransomware containment powered by BullWall. Ransomcare reinforces an organisation’s defences against ransomware by detecting file activity abnormalities. It then detects and shuts down criminals causing encryption and file corruption before attacks spread. As a result of deploying Ransomcare, St Bede’s school spotted an incident that would have been missed by their previous defence infrastructure and was able to mitigate the increased threats that can come from home working.

“Given the current climate and the number of schools that are being attacked, I think Ricoh’s RansomCare solution is extremely important for St Bede’s School. Because now we have a defence against something that seems to be a growing threat. And it means that we don’t have to worry and can continue to provide what the children deserve which is a good education and a safe working environment for staff.”

– Samuel Alexander-Omoh, IT Manager, St Bede’s School  

Digital trends at Tring Park School

Cybersecurity at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts was pretty good, but it was based on standard antivirus technology. The risk of cyber-attacks is increasing, and threat actors see schools as a ‘soft’ touch. So the school invested in a next-generation cybersecurity solution from Ricoh. It has improved protection for pupils, staff and the school, and made security management easier saving both time and resources.

“Ricoh won the cybersecurity contract because its solution offered product functionality. This was backed up by a good support infrastructure. I also liked the way Ricoh communicated with us and the depth of expertise and experience of the whole team. The full package made us feel these are the products we want. Further, these are the people we want to deal with. I wanted to do the best I could for the security of the school.”

– Stuart Cook, IT Director, Tring Park School

Digital trends at Winchester College

Winchester College already had a strong cybersecurity infrastructure in place but still felt vulnerable if that defence was broken. They were looking for a low-cost, easy-to-use, but also effective system. And so it turned to Ricoh and our RansomCare solution. Ricoh’s solution and service have been a key part of helping the business. They make store backroom operations more efficient, productive and cost-effective.

“RansomCare offers protection at a different stage of the attack. It was the only product we found that could stop an attack in progress, detect it and shut it down.”

– Oliver Webb, Head of Infrastructure, Winchester College

Further public sector trends and insights

Other solution areas and public sector digital trends for education were web-to-print e-commerce, BPM, digitisation, archiving, and document management. The wide breadth of public sector digital trends, and ways in which Ricoh was able to adapt and support public sector organisations, demonstrates Ricoh’s evolution to a digital services integrator, in addition to a leading print expert. Completing the DSMI can give you an idea of your Digital Maturity, and what services your organisation—  public sector or otherwise — might benefit from.

Steve Timothy

Cyber Security Expert at Ricoh UK & Ireland

Read all articles by Steve Timothy