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Cyber security for Education

Much of the data stored in education data systems is of little interest or value to hackers. Schools, colleges and universities are still potential targets for criminals however.

Sensitive personal data like student records or payment details can still be stolen from education networks for instance. And universities are a goldmine of intellectual property and sensitive research data. If criminals believe data is saleable, they will steal it.

Colleges and universities are also at risk from internal threats. Inquisitive or disaffected students may attempt to break into systems for fun – or to cause damage.

Fidus provide a range of cost-effective security assessment and advisory services to help you better protect your IT systems – and the sensitive data you store in them:

• Penetration testing – How secure is your network perimeter? Your internal safeguards? We’ll show you the loopholes and exploits that hackers would use to break in.
• Permissions and accounts audit – With potentially thousands of logins to manage, are your credentials and permissions being managed properly? We’ll help you find out.
• Phishing email security – Are your teaching and non-teaching staff ready to deal with fake emails and attempts to steal logins?
• Physical security provisions – Can you keep intruders out of your data centres?
• Red Team scenarios – Using proven hacking tools and techniques, we’ll simulate a full-scale cyberattack – and test your responses to the incident.

At the end of the process, we’ll provide you with a full report that shows where your systems are – and are not – performing optimally. We’ll also supply you with a series of recommendations for future improvement, so you have everything required to apply for additional IT security funding.

Cyber security compliance for Education

Educational organisations have a legal and ethical duty to protect information stored in their IT systems. Of particular interest are your obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You must properly secure personal data against loss or theft – or risk a fine of up to €20m.

Fidus can help you prepare your systems for GDPR compliance, applying the necessary safeguards to ensure unauthorised users cannot break in. From penetration testing to firewall reconfiguration, our fully qualified consultants are with you every step of the way.

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Fidus Security Solutions

Penetration Testing

Let Fidus work with you to ascertain your overall security posture.

Public Sector

Are you a public sector body? Have a look how we can help.

Compliance

Worried about compliance? Look no further.

Why Fidus?

Penetration testing reveals your most sensitive network vulnerabilities – so you need a partner you can trust. Fidus Information Security are an NCSC CHECK Green Light and TIGER scheme approved consultancy. Our cyber security experts hold some of the most recognised certifications in the industry, including CREST Certified Tester and Senior Security Tester. Fidus is also a Cyber Essentials verified company. Every assessment we perform is carried out according to UK industry approved methodologies (OWASP, PETS, NIST) along with our own internal testing frameworks.

Remedial Support

More than just identifying security vulnerabilities, our cyber security experts are on hand to help you fix them too.

Certified Security Consultants

Our CREST and TIGER approved team holds a range of industry-leading security certifications including OSCP, CCT, SST and CISSP.

Easy to Understand Reports

We’ll ensure that your executives and technical teams properly understand our assessment findings using plain-English reporting.

Fixed Price Proposals

The price you’re quoted is the price you’ll pay. Our quotes are broken down into a detailed costing table so you know exactly what to expect.

The Industry Average

Other approaches we've witnessed have included convoluted steps and commonly ends with incorrect information being handed to the consultant assigned to the engagement.

The Fidus Way

Our approach to security involves a qualified security consultant through the entire process to ensure quality, accuracy and consistency.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What software do you use?

Penetration Testing ‘tools’ are used as part of engagements to help assess, identify and exploit commonly found vulnerabilities. There are numerous different kinds of tools used within every engagement, each with a different use and varying popularity – like most things, people have a preference!

Whilst these tools are effective at finding what they’re able to, it’s important to ensure your provider does not simply run automated tools and issue a report. Many vulnerabilities cannot be identified simply by running an automated tool without some form of manual verification and, in some cases, manual exploitation too. Our consultants at Fidus focus on manual testing where possible and whilst some of these tools are used to aid assessments, they will never be the focal point of the engagement.

Commonly seen tools include; NMap, Metapsloit, SQLMap, Nessus, Qualys, Nikto, SSLScan, Cobalt Strike and many, many more.

What is the goal of a penetration test?

The end goal of a Pen Test varies from client to client and has many underlying factors, such as; complexity of application and/or network, whether there have been previous tests, what kind of data the application/network holds and the size of the organisation.

The most frequent goal we are given by clients is “Can you obtain our customer information?”. However, it is also important to not overlook other issues which could lead to things such as loss of business reputation if the customer facing website is compromised.

Do i pass/fail?

Penetration Testing should NOT become a Pass/Fail assessment for your organisation It should be seen as an exercise to evaluate your current security posture with the aim to make as many improvements as possible.

At Fidus, we ensure the client is able to extract as much value from the assessment as possible. As such, our reports contain sections for both the executive team which is aimed at the risks to the business and a technical section for the development and IT teams. We provide enough information for the C-Level staff members to fully understand the report and enough information for the technical team to be able to locate, reproduce and fix all issues discovered.

What are the stages of a pen test?
  • Initiation / Scoping – Ensuring the delivery of work is exactly as you require and the correct amount of time is allocated to your engagement.
  • Pre-Assessment – Confirmation that your environment is accessible and ready for testing and all requirements have been completed.
  • Assessment – Conducting the engagement as per the Scope of Work.
  • Post-Assessment – Collection of all results and ensuring the tested environment has been tidied up where possible.
  • Reporting – Compilation of results for final deliverable.
  • Remediation Discussion and Support – Discussion and explanation of all issues where required and further support for implementing changes as recommended within the deliverable.
How long does an assessment take?

The time it takes to conduct each assessment is dependent on the scope of the engagement. There are multiple factors which can impact the length of the engagement, such as; network size, complexity of applications, size of organisation and whether the assessment is internal or external.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit of is the proactive approach to finding serious vulnerabilities before attackers do. These vulnerabilities can lead to numerous scenarios such as; reputational damage, loss of user data and financial fines.

Compliance

Penetration Testing is also a key factor to becoming compliant in multiple standards, such as Cyber Essentials Plus, PCI DSS and ISO 27001.

Evaluate Current Security Controls

A pen test allows you to evaluate current security controls which are in place. These could be Intrusion Prevention Systems (IDS), Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS), Firewalls and Web Application Firewalls (WAF). We commonly see mis-configuration of these devices, sometimes rendering them ineffective at their main job, keeping your data safe.

Avoid The Cost of Network Downtime

Have you ever worked out how much it would cost your business if you had even a day downtime because of a cyber attack? This is not simply the loss of a day wages for all employees, it may also include; legal fees, incident response, customer protection and damage control activities.

A security assessment also allows you to establish the level of exposure if a specific area of your company gets breached, such as the main user web application, and ascertain how sensitive the data held within is. Currently, sensitive breaches must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) with fines sometimes reaching 6 figures. However, with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law, these fines are set to multiply and only give organisations 72 hours to discover and report a breach. The easiest way to avoid a breach is to proactively defend against one.

How often should we conduct a penetration test?

Penetration Testing should be performed on a regular basis to ensure newly discovered threats and previously recommended implementations are evaluated. In addition to this, penetration testing should occur when there’s a big change to network infrastructure, a new web application is deployed, during/before mergers and Phishing assessments should take place upon expansion of your team.

What kind of test do i require?

The kind of assessment you require has many underlying factors. Some questions such as “We’re about to deploy a new web application, what kind of testing do you recommend?” are much easier to answer than “We’ve never had a Penetration Test before, what do you recommend?”.

For the latter question, there are a series of questions which need to be answered first. Such as; What are your key assets? What would cripple your business if stolen? (Signing keys, source code, customer data etc), How many employees do you have? What is your budget?

It is important to have all of the information to be able to evaluate what would have the best return on investment for your Penetration Test.

If you would like to talk through the different kind of paths you could take, please get in touch.

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“Oysta is very happy with the support, service and dedication of the Fidus team. Working with the Oysta team every step of the way, not only did they check all security on the device, they also provided feedback on the quality of the hardware. I will be working with Fidus again.”

Mario Zuccaro, Founder and CEO, Oysta Technology

June 2019

“We have been really pleased with the service provided by Fidus. We have found them to be extremely easy to work with. We also felt their fee structure was reasonable. We would recommend Fidus to anyone looking for a PCI pen testing partner.”

Andy Phillips, Inspired Outsourcing

May 2019

“Great service. Gave us exactly what we needed, as promised.”

Philip Cunnington, TalkPlus NHS

January 2019

“We were extremely pleased with the service, knowledge and professionalism shown by Fidus. After the remediation phase, we then ran a phishing exercise with them to remind staff of the need to be vigilant with external email communications. I would have no hesitation in using or recommending Fidus in the future due to the quality of work carried out at a great price.”

Graeme Thistlethwaite, ICT, Business Change and Business Support Manager

“Fidus provided a high quality penetration service at a reasonable price … communications were great … the Pen test team flexed around us and our other commitments to get the job done. Thanks!”

Darren Crombie, CEO, Upstream Outcomes

October 2018

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