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Keeping your school library data secure


Keeping your school library data secure

Making sure you or your Library Management System is not exploited to gain access to your school’s data.

In the Annual Cyber Threat Report July 2019 to June 2020, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) states that:

“cybercrime is one of the most pervasive threats facing Australia, and the most significant threat in terms of overall volume and impact to individuals and businesses.”

In March 2021, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the UK issued an alert that reported an increased number of ransomware attacks on the education sector over the last year, which may be a result of the move to remote learning. To learn more about this, read Increased ransomware attacks: Schools offered help to defend their systems.

We recently sat down with Tony Parfitt, Security Manager at Softlink, to pick his brain about cyber security and find out what Softlink does to stay ahead of these threats and what you can do.

Firstly, let’s get to know you a little! When did you join Softlink and what do you like most about working here?

I joined Softlink in 1999 and liked it so much I’m still here!

I’ve been able to expand into different roles over the years and have been fortunate enough to complete behind the scenes projects that make a real difference to our staff and customers. The work never gets stale.

I particularly love that I get to work in an industry that helps people with something I’m passionate about… reading!

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the team at Softlink are fantastic to work with!

What are the main responsibilities of your position?

As the Softlink Education Security Manager, I am responsible for making sure our internal and customer facing systems and processes are secure.

I ensure that Softlink meet, and exceed, various security and privacy policies such as GDPR to protect our customers' school data.

This is especially important in light of the increased number of ransomware attacks to companies in the past few years. 

You mentioned security is becoming more important, why do you think this is?

Hacking is a big industry and things like ransomware attacks are frequently in the news.

The shift to working from home due to COVID-19 also expanded the attack surface everyone needs to protect.

Ignoring security is taking a huge risk, I would no more willingly leave a system “open” today than I would leave my front door open when I leave the house.

So what sort of security improvements have Softlink made recently?


The online world is constantly shifting and, as new cyber security risks emerge, I want to ensure that we are out ahead of them.

There is no such thing as “too secure” so I am always looking for ways to make our systems even more water-tight.

Oliver V5 successfully qualified to be part of the Safer Technologies 4 Schools (ST4S) Product Badge Program in 2020. The Safer Technologies 4 Schools (ST4S) 
service is a national standardised approach to evaluating digital products and services used by schools across Australia. It is supported by the state and territory governments and the Catholic and independent school sectors. Learn more at www.st4s.edu.au.

Additionally, for our cloud hosted customers, we recently enhanced our existing firewall technology, to stay up-to-date with security features and ensure our continued success in keeping attackers out.

We also conduct security scans on our Library software for each of our regular product updates.

And it’s not just IT systems. Softlink has an ingrained culture of security, from the development of Oliver through to our internal policies and procedures, which extends to the delivery of our services.

This culture creates our Human Firewall, a term defined by Great Learning as:

“A group of people in an organisation that works towards detecting cyber attacks such as ransomware or phishing attacks that may bypass your computer security system…”

All Softlink staff, regardless of role, undergo frequent security training to keep ahead of new trends and build their knowledge-banks. It would be an understatement to say that security best practice is important to us!

5 Tips for Strengthening the Security of Your Oliver System

  1.  Don’t share login credentials
  2. Use default or better password parameter settings (parameters 3800 and higher).
  3. Implementing single sign-on is the most secure way to log in (ask Softlink support how).
  4. Use default or better parameter settings for other security related parameters, such as 1216 allow cross site scripting (default is false). The implementation guide has a section listing parameters related to security.
  5. Use Softlink hosting so we can take care of your hosting environment security needs

What are your top 5 security tips?

tips and tricks

1. Use good passwords

Don’t use the same passwords for different accounts and use two-factor authentication if available.

I strongly recommend the use of a password manager! These are so easy to set up and use. It saves time and makes it much easier to create and use safe passwords!

2. Keep your devices updated.

This means applying OS updates (Windows, Mac etc.), mobile device updates (Android, IOS etc.), and application updates as soon as they’re available.

These updates often slam the door in the face of potential attackers.

3. Be the human firewall.

Most security incidents start with a human, we are still the easiest way in.

  • Don’t give out personal info lightly.
  • Don’t click without thinking.
  • Don’t provide your credentials to anyone.
  • Don’t click without thinking.
  • Do report anything suspicious to your Security or IT Manager.
  • Oh, and did I mention… don’t click without thinking?

4. Backup!

Do you have a robust backup system in place?

You can not underestimate the amount of work it takes to replace lost data when a backup system fails or is compromised. You should check with your IT department to make sure your backup system is in place and working.

If you are an Oliver cloud hosted customer, you don’t need to worry about this - we take care of backups for you.

5. Make sure the companies you deal with care about security and privacy as much as you do.

If a company loses or abuses your information, it’s out of your hands!

Looking for security tips you can share with students? Check out Tony’s Top Tips for Students video designed to help educate young students in online safety.


Let’s end on something light! What was the last book you read?

It was a classic sci-fi novella, Anthem, by Ayn Rand. Strange but thought provoking!

To learn more about our cloud hosted solution (and join the many schools kept safe by Tony!) watch our short video Benefits of Cloud Hosting or contact sales@softlinkint.com.

Further reading on cyber security for schools

Meet more of the Softlink Education team

Editor’s note: This blog article was first published in March 2021. Updated for freshness, relevance and accuracy in December 2022.