Penetration Testing for Universities and Schools

At ROSCA Technologies, we ensure your educational institution is prepared and protected against cyber threats through comprehensive penetration testing. Safeguard your sensitive data and maintain compliance with our expert services.


Schools and universities handle a myriad of sensitive data – from student records and financial information, to institution-specific research data. All of this makes them the prime target for cybercriminals. With students accessing portals, digital resources and online learning platforms from multiple locations, the potential attack surface is vast.

At Rosca Technologies, we understand the complex and unique challenges faced by the education sector when it comes to cybersecurity and can help you stay protected.

What Cyber Challenges Pose a Risk to the Education Sector?

Protection of sensitive data – educational institutions deal with a multitude of sensitive data – from research data and financial information to student records and grades. This makes them a very appealing target for cybercrime.

Lack of awareness – there is often a lack of awareness in the education sector when it comes to good cybersecurity practices, especially for students.Taking the time to roll out basic cybersecurity education, such as the risk of phishing attacks, unsafe internet browsing and poor password management, could save the organisation’s system from security breaches.

Multiple user access points – schools and universities have one of the largest and most varied user bases, with the ability to gain access from multiple locations. With each student, teacher and administrative staff having access to digital resources, educational institutions have a large and complex network, making it difficult to control, monitor and keep safe.

Limited budget for cybersecurity – for many educational institutions, especially those in the public sector, they may be operating with limited budgets when it comes to cybersecurity. Investing in the IT departments and proper cybersecurity could be imperative for the success of the educational institution and keeping up with evolving cyber threats.

Benefits of Penetration Testing for Educational Institutions

Identification of Vulnerabilities

Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated, using technology designed to overcome any security vulnerabilities.

When you run regular penetration testing, it allows for early identification of all vulnerabilities and helps you update your security system to protect against threat. Penetration tests, importantly, also help your defence solution simulating different hacks to see how your system could respond better.

Strengthen Reputation and Trust for the Institution

When a cyberattack takes place, it puts all customer data at risk. For educational institutions this can be fatal for business. If a university or school is involved in a data leakage, students, parents and any perspectives for the future could lose faith in the institution, associating it with poor security and safety. It has the potential to damage the reputation of the entire business.

When you eliminate cyber threats, not only do you avoid these kinds of large-scale data leaks, but you have security in place to gain your audience’s trust, maintain an improved security posture, and protect your brand reputation in the long run.

Greater System Performance

The principal reason for penetration testing in the educational sector is to prevent a range of different cyberattacks, facilitating business continuity. Regular penetration testing on your systems ensures smooth system performance and a faster recovery time should anything happen. By staying abreast of any weaknesses and vulnerabilities, your organisation can take fast action.

Keeping Up With Compliance

When you run regular penetration testing and security testing, you protect your entire organisation’s network. It ensures that you’re up to date with any evolving cybersecurity threat and, by default, are keeping up with all necessary security compliance and regulations such as GDPR, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS.

How Often Should Penetration Testing be Conducted in the Education Sector?

In the education sector, because of the multitude of digital users across a range of different activities, there are constant new threats and vulnerabilities. By regularly performing assessments, it allows for threats and vulnerabilities to be discovered and resolved before attackers can exploit them in real life.

As well as the regular security assessments required for regulatory and compliance standards, our experts recommend carrying out network security audits in the following cases:

  • – When new office locations are opened up
  • – After new changes to network infrastructure
  • – If external servers or applications are deployed 
  • – When any significant upgrades or modifications are made to infrastructure or applications
  • – If the institution acquires other companies or undergoes a merger
  • – After security patching to make sure that there are no remaining vulnerabilities

What Penetration Tests are Available for the Education Sector?

We offer many different types of penetration tests for the education sector depending on the specific needs of the institution. We always carry tests out in a controlled way to protect the organisation during the testing process. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

External Network Penetration Testing

This test is one of the most common for schools and universities. An external network infrastructure penetration test involves identifying vulnerabilities and security issues at an infrastructural level and safely exploiting them to assess potential risk.

Internal Network Penetration Testing

These tests tend to be performed after the external penetration testing. They simulate insider threats to identify how an attacker who has internal access could damage or compromise the organisation’s system, network or data.

Web App Penetration Tests

During a web application penetration test, our team simulates a real-world attack to identify security issues across the organisation’s web applications and APIs. We report these vulnerabilities in order of severity with clear recommendations for remediation so that you can address the issues.

Mobile App Penetration Tests

These tests offer a comprehensive analysis of different security features of not only teh application, but the back-end components too, highlighting multiple areas for security improvements.

How Do Our Penetration Tests Work for the Education Sector?

Our penetration tests have various stages. While the tests will vary from client to client, the basic steps are the following.

1. Scoping – we work alongside the institution to define the scope of the assessment including all the systems and applications that will be tested. This helps our team make an action plan.

2. Testing security – our certified consultants will use the above plan to carry out security testing and identify vulnerabilities, your organisation’s defence and weak points across the institution using a range of methods.

3. Reporting – we will deliver a comprehensive and clear report detailed the issues found and offering steps for remediation

4. Retesting – we will retest to see if the remediation efforts have been effective and to see if any other vulnerabilities have arisen during the security patch stage.


How should an educational institution prepare for a penetration test?

Schools and universities should take the time to identify the scope of the test. They should also notify relevant stakeholders, make sure backup systems are in place and provide all relevant documentation and access to the penetration testing team.

Does penetration testing disrupt normal operations?

While penetration testing is designed to be as non-disruptive as possible, some testing activities could temporarily affect system performance. However, our team of professionals will always coordinate with the institution to minimise any impact on operations.

How is sensitive data handled during the penetration test?

Our team of professional ethical hackers always follows strict confidentiality agreements and data protection protocols to keep sensitive data protected during the test.

Why is penetration testing important for educational institutions?

Due to the huge amount of sensitive information stored by educational institutions – including personal data of staff and students, research data and financial records – it is vital to keep these systems properly protected. Penetration testing works to identify and combat any potential threats and vulnerabilities to protect this data from cyber attacks.

Can penetration testing be performed internally?

While some institutions have internal security teams capable of performing penetration testing, contracting a professional company is always beneficial to offer an external, unbiased perspective and identify vulnerabilities that internal teams may not spot.

How much should educational institutions budget for penetration testing?

The cost of penetration testing for schools and universities varies on the scope, size, and complexity of the institution’s network and systems. Our team will put together a detailed proposal and quotation to give you a full idea of the inclusions and costs of the test.

Rather than a one-off payment, penetration testing should be viewed as an ongoing investment in the institution’s security posture, with regular testing being part of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

Get Started with Penetration Testing for Your School or University

At Rosca Technologies, we are committed to protecting sensitive student and faculty data. We offer comprehensive security assessments for schools and universities and can prepare customised penetration testing solutions to protect your campus.

Get in touch today for a free quote or speak to a consultant today.