Canada Association of Tourism Employees

How To Create An eLearning Cybersecurity Plan

Create an eLearning cybersecurity plan

Training and learning platforms are often viewed as one of the early adopters of internet and cloud technology, a trend that has accelerated over the past 20 years. eLearning thrives with exclusively online content that can be used by a global audience. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more and more eLearning companies needing to evolve and adapt to the latest cloud technologies.

Greater connectivity and improved interoperability require that content be delivered in a secure and private information stream. It can be argued that the need for a strict cybersecurity policy is a prerequisite for an eLearning institution, especially considering that the systems of a typical learning platform contain significant amounts of personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. Bank card details and so on.

Cyber ​​security is incredibly important to any modern business. Recent events in the US in December 2020 underscored this to the utmost when the cybersecurity industry was rocked by the SolarWinds hack. To sum it up, a cyber attack on the supply chain was uncovered on December 13, 2020 that allowed malicious hackers to access multiple IT systems owned by the US government and the tech giant.

These events have paid particular attention to cybersecurity planning in the eLearning industry. This article explains how to create a cybersecurity plan that specifically protects the eLearning community.

Get the senior management buy-in

All successful cybersecurity programs require the support of the executive team to be successful. Investment in new technology may be required, new security professionals may be hired, and a culture change within the organization may almost certainly be required to be successful. Elements that the SLT can use not only to make progress, but also to challenge other SLT members who may be resisting the transition.

Does PICERL apply to eLearning?

Anyone concerned with cybersecurity will likely have heard of the PICERL framework. If you’re not familiar, it stands for:

  • preparation
  • identification
  • Containment
  • extermination
  • Restoration
  • Lessons learned

The framework was created to standardize how organizations respond to a cybersecurity threat. eLearning companies can use this model to create a successful cybersecurity plan.


Know your eLearning platform and understand the threat landscape to your business. This means documenting and knowing where sensitive customer data is stored and taking steps to reduce the risk of a data breach. This usually includes encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA) and securing data traffic using user access controls and a defined network firewall.

Servers and applications must be patched to the latest levels of security, and security training should be offered to all employees.

Preparing a cybersecurity plan is arguably the most important step in the whole process. In an ideal world, instead of reacting and recovering, all you have to do is prepare for an incident. Even so, every part of the plan needs to be carefully considered.

First of all, you need to know exactly what IT infrastructure you have, compile a system inventory of all digital assets and conduct a cybersecurity risk analysis for the systems and processes currently in use.

This process helps create a baseline, a line in the sand, an accurate understanding of what the current landscape is like and what needs to be changed. It marks the starting point of the cybersecurity journey. Any improvement made can be assessed as the security landscape improves over time.

The plan should review existing environments and include a strategy for killing operating systems, patch infrastructures, applications, and secure security processes (or creating them if they don’t already exist!).


The eLearning platform must be able to identify cyberattacks using intrusion protection systems (IPS), SIEM event handling, and endpoint solutions. There are significant benefits to running a vulnerability scan to actively look for issues with your website, code, or infrastructure.

When threats are detected, expertise is required to bridge the gap and protect the platform.

Many steps can be taken to protect your investment. They seem reasonable, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get the basics right the first time. Virus endpoint protection is a proven protection against intruders. Provided the signatures are kept up to date, it is one of the best protection mechanisms against malware.

Make sure you are using modern, vendor-supported operating systems and keep them up to date with the latest security updates. Train everyone on cybersecurity risks and how to watch out for phishing, fraud, and fake websites. An employee is usually the first line of defense and needs to be safety conscious.

Implement intrusion protection systems that actively monitor production networks for unusual activity and constantly log detailed information in a SIEM application. SIEM can analyze large volumes of activity logs and generate intelligence alerts. Automated tickets can be created and emailed to security personnel to highlight when user intervention is required, e.g. B. Checking for unexpected user login activity.


If a confirmed data breach or cybersecurity incident is detected, it is important to include the incident. Administrative procedures must be in place so that staff know which chain of events an incident is in. Clear communication channels should exist between employees, managers and customers.

With the help of detailed logging tools, development teams can identify the risk, the cause of the violation, and the potential impact of the unfolding event.

When the worst happens and your systems become damaged or server access is compromised, you need to take decisive action quickly. The cybersecurity plan should contain pre-built business continuity steps. Is the company blocking network access to compromised systems, going to a disaster recovery solution at a secondary site, or restoring from backup? Write it down, make it happen.

The answers may vary depending on the scenario, but the general requirements are that the risk does not spread. Force system-wide changes to credentials, change any shared certificates, and recycle secret keys that are used when consuming cloud resources.


They hope this stage of the cybersecurity plan never unfolds. It will only develop if a confirmed cyberattack is detected. Eliminating the threat can involve several things. In most cases, restoring from backup is the quickest way to get the eLearning platform up and running again. However, your cloud provider may have a disaster recovery managed service that can move your infrastructure to an alternate location and users are unlikely to notice that there is even a problem.

By and large, the eradication phase involves removing the threat from the IT infrastructure and restoring the systems to operation. This is usually achieved by restoring systems from backup. To assist, the company may be able to call on a disaster recovery solution to run the production workloads while the systems are being recovered.

The goal is to eliminate the threat to data, networks, and systems by making sure everything is fixed before it is restored to normal. A root cause analysis is typically performed at this point to determine the root cause of the cybersecurity breach. Systems may need to be patched, network rules tightened, and malware removed.


Disaster recovery initiatives enable rapid recovery of the eLearning platform. However, open communication needs to continue to understand the effects of the cyberattack. To make the recovery successful, it is important to understand what is causing the attack.

Extensive system tests are required to determine whether any data has been lost. This may include public relations, talking to customers, and talking to the media to keep everyone updated on what happened.

This is an opportunity to build consumer confidence. A third-party security consultancy may need to be brought in to do a top-down review of the company. Pen testing and vulnerability scanning may be introduced to reassure customers.


To help the company recover from an incident and learn from it, it is important to conduct a top-down review of the incident. All employees involved in every phase of the incident must participate. The meeting should take place no later than a week after the event.

Use this lesson not to point your fingers, but to create a roadmap to make sure something like this never happens again.


The above steps were followed by a letter from companies that have been victims of the recent cyberattacks. We hope your eLearning business never has to experience this, but preparation is key. 95% of cyber attacks are the result of human error. This shows that checks and balances and a solid cybersecurity plan are essential for businesses to reduce this risk.

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