How to shield essential services from cyber threats

How to shield essential services from cyber threats

Cyber security has become a primary concern, especially for critical infrastructures such as those in areas like education, health and banking.

These sectors are vital to the functioning of society and are therefore attractive targets for cyberattacks.

Protecting these infrastructures is not only a matter of information security, but also a necessity to guarantee the continuity and reliability of essential services.

Understand the unique challenges of each sector and how to protect yourself

Each of these sectors faces unique challenges in terms of cybersecurity.


Schools, due to their unique structure, present specific cybersecurity challenges, such as a high turnover of students and teachers, campus culture, valuable research and data collected, and the use of personal technology, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The constant change of students and staff creates a "revolving door" of personally identifiable information (PII), making educational institutions attractive targets for cybercriminals.

This continuous transition of data and high turnover is not limited to the student body, but also includes teachers and other faculty members.

Therefore, it is essential that school districts and universities consider these factors when developing a robust cybersecurity structure.

Practical Tips for the Education Sector:

Identity and Access Management (IAM): Implement IAM solutions to control access to systems and information. This includes strong authentication, especially for access to sensitive data.

Security Awareness Education and Training: Conduct regular training programs for students, faculty and staff on cybersecurity best practices, including how to identify and respond to phishing emails and other threats.

IT Infrastructure Protection: Invest in robust security solutions, such as firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware systems, and endpoint detection and response (EDR) software.

Security Policies for Mobile and Personal Devices (BYOD): Establish and enforce clear policies for the use of personal devices on the institution's network, including the requirement of security measures such as VPN and antivirus software.

Regular Patch and Update Management: Keep all operating systems, applications and network infrastructure up to date with the latest security updates.

Incident Response Plans: Develop and regularly test cyber incident response plans to ensure a quick and effective reaction in the event of a data breach or other security incident.

Security in Online Learning Environments: With the adoption of hybrid and online teaching models, ensure that online learning platforms are secure and that student data is protected during transmission and storage.

Partnerships for Cyber Security: Collaborate with other educational institutions and security experts to share knowledge, resources and strategies to improve the collective security posture.


The healthcare sector is becoming increasingly integrated with technology, especially with the growing adoption of connected medical devices.

This integration brings numerous benefits for the treatment and monitoring of patients, but also introduces significant challenges related to information security.

Patients' medical records, for example, are extremely sensitive information and their protection is fundamental to privacy and trust in the healthcare system.

According to an ISH study, approximately 1,448 medical systems are exposed globally, highlighting a worrying vulnerability when it comes to data protection in the health sector.

Brazil, remarkably, ranks second on this unwanted list, with 214 exposed systems, representing 15% of the world total. This places the country just behind the United States, which leads the ranking with 294 exposed systems, or 20% of the global total.

Practical tips for the health sector:

Risk Assessment and Compliance: Carry out regular audits to identify vulnerabilities and ensure compliance with regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Network Segmentation: Divide networks into segments to limit the spread of an attack.

Security Awareness Training: Regularly train employees on security best practices, how to identify phishing and other threats.

Access Management: Implement role-based access controls to restrict access to sensitive data.


The banking sector is also a constant target for cyberattacks due to the financial nature of its operations.

Attacks in this sector can have huge financial and trust implications. A study reveals that among 19 categories of economic crime, cybercrime has emerged as the most widespread and disruptive in the US and globally.

Ransomware attacks, phishing attempts and social engineering are some of the most common tactics employed by cybercriminals.

The constant sophistication of cyber attacks requires financial institutions to be one step ahead in their cyber security measures.

Practical tips for the banking sector:

Strong Authentication: Use multi-factor authentication on all access points.

Continuous Transaction Monitoring: Implement systems to monitor and analyze transactions in real time to detect suspicious activity.

Penetration Tests and Vulnerability Assessments: Carry out periodic tests to identify and correct vulnerabilities.

Collaboration with Authorities and Financial Institutions: Participate in threat information sharing networks to keep up to date with new risks.

Investment in security technologies

Protecting critical infrastructures from cyber threats is an ongoing challenge that requires a multi-faceted approach.

Investing in security technologies, training people and adopting a security culture are essential steps to ensure the resilience of these vital sectors.

As a society, we depend on the security and reliability of these infrastructures, making cybersecurity an undeniable priority.

To find out more about how to keep your company safe from digital threats, contact ISH's team of experts.

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