10th May 2024 Nursery Management Software All Posts

Safeguarding Children’s Data in the Childcare Sector

Useful tips for childcare providers to improve their data protection practices.

In 2023, the childcare and education sector faced a significant number of data breaches, ranking second highest after health. Analysing data from the ICO, Solicitor Hayes Connor revealed that one in seven data breaches of reported breaches were from this sector with over a third of them involving children’s data.

This statistic is concerning and children deserve better privacy protection. Data breaches can expose sensitive details like names, birthdates, and addresses, making them vulnerable to identity theft. Childcare providers who fail to safeguard children’s data risk reputational damage and loss of trust among families, especially given growing concerns about online privacy. Moreover, legal regulations such as GDPR are in place to ensure compliance, and mishandling children’s data can result in hefty fines.

In the report, the primary causes of the data breaches were 

  • sending data to the wrong recipient 
  • unauthorised access 

So how can we work towards better data protection?

As a childcare provider, you have the power to create a safe and secure environment for children. By implementing some simple tips to improve your data protection practices, you can ensure that every child is protected and their privacy is respected. Improving data protection involves a combination of technological advancements, regulatory measures, and individual responsibility. Here are several strategies childcare providers can adopt:

  • Be savvy about passwords – Use secure, complex passwords and store them securely. Implement two-factor authentication whenever possible. 
  • Establish individual logins – Each authorised person should have their own credentials to track actions to a specific user. Avoid sharing accounts and regularly remove or disable profiles of staff members who leave the business. 
  • Stay updated – Keep devices and applications used for child data up to date with the latest supported operating system versions and antivirus software to maintain robust security levels. 
  • Use the ‘lock’ function on unattended devices – Press ctrl + alt + delete and choose ‘lock’ whenever a staff member steps away from their device to prevent unauthorised access to child data. 
  • Consider device storage and placement – Store devices safely when not in use and position monitors away from windows and doors while using screen filters to prevent unauthorised viewing. 
  • Customise staff permissions – Set individual permission settings to ensure data is only shared with authorised staff members. 
  • Educate your staff – Provide security induction training and annual refresher courses to minimise human error, such as misconfigurations or falling for phishing emails. 
  • Back up information – Regularly backup business-critical data and sensitive information to prevent loss in case of natural disasters, equipment theft, or data ransom incidents. 
  • Use a trusted nursery management software – Switch to an online cloud-based system that will hold records securely and save you time on admin. Connect Childcare provides a secure and integrated software package for managers, practitioners, and parents. 

By adopting these strategies, childcare providers can work towards better data protection for children’s sensitive information. 

Connect Childcare is committed to data security, and it is the only nursery management software provider on the market to hold the ISO 27001:2013 accreditation. It is also registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, complying with strict Data Protection legislation. Connect Childcare uses industry-standard security protocols and data storage facilities based in the UK, all of which are certified to ISO27001 standards.

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About the Author

Marketing Lead at Connect Childcare