Every educational institution should keep alert for an invasion. As long as universities will continue collecting and storing data relating to students and staff, institutions are bound to face data breaches just as any regular business would. Especially now that most higher education institutions are using SaaS (Software-as-a-service) to round up electronic student information, more efforts need to go towards safeguarding data from nefarious cyber criminals.
What is the state of cybersecurity in higher education?
Education is in a dire situation. Considering how institutions have been incorporating technology into the classrooms and processes, chances are so many have had data invasions. So far, universities/colleges come in third place as the area most susceptible to cybersecurity. Not as a result of cybersecurity only but also because of security patch management, endpoint security, application security, and weak network security.
Why Higher Education Struggles with Creating an Information Security Strategy
Official offices serving as registrars and admissions are not the sole places these infamous actors can get student data. Libraries and cloud-based platforms used by lecturers and staff to submit grades, send academic warnings, and to communicate with students are increasingly becoming other potential spots for threats.
Furthermore, every individual in the institution is often casually using mobile devices to connect to these platforms. It is with this reason that higher education institutions meet challenges creating assets catalog because they struggle to inventory data assets of all networks, software, systems and devices getting student’s info. When that becomes a challenge, taking steps towards establishing a risk-based security policy turns into an even harder task, which leaves the institution open to threats.
Why Higher Education Struggles with Privacy
When so many people are handling student’s data, often maintaining privacy becomes a challenge. Nonetheless, when there is integration between security and privacy, controlling data use becomes simpler.
For faculty downloading YouTube TedTalks in the attempt to help students distressed by hefty fees debts ought to know this could be a potential threat to data. You ought to realize that such services gather IP addresses while others request for logins. Any of the two reasons could result in the breach of the institution’s or student’s data.
Students also need to understand the importance of managing data. On most occasions, a student doesn’t realize they can opt out information and service sharing. So, you end up using the school’s email addresses while login across the internet and social media. When you do so, you increase the chances of a cybercriminal accessing private info based in databases through passwords and emails.
Why Higher Education Struggles with Securing Digital Integrations
Simply put, because of incorporating cloud platforms. Whichever platform the institution chooses to use, whether Azure or Google Cloud platform, as long as it sends information across different networks and services, the possibility of securing a digital integration becomes more complicated.
Keep in mind that a college/ university has several departments all using various applications to facilitate research initiatives. For instance, the library uses databases dissimilar to those of the business department. For each database, a new API must be present to facilitate back and forth data sharing. As a result, the data environment continues to expand.
Another issue that complicates the situation is proper communication within departments. Most academic departments in many large research institutions don’t regularly keep in touch with the IT department. You can try to fathom how overwhelming and exhausting it is to track control effectiveness when you already must engage in further interdepartmental consultations.
Why Becoming a Data-Enabled Institution Increases the Security Risks?
Student’s success is the number one priority in every institution. It is the reason why educational institutions always seek to collect data they believe will be insightful to the student. When an institution is not data-enabled performing such tasks gets cumbersome. Thus, tertiary institutions should concentrate on safeguarding data so that they can be data-enabled institutions which people can look up to now and in the future.
How Data Management and Governance need to be retooled to Protect Student Information
Considering every individual within the institution will want to access info on the internet or social media, institutions have to look for a better option than CIO, CISCO, or a single IT expert. The ideal options to guarantee the protection of student’s data is by unifying firewalls, anti-ransomware/anti-malware software, security patch management, and authentication and user access across the institutions.
Crafting a Cybersecurity Program
A well-crafted cybersecurity management program will provide a tertiary institution with the necessary framework needed for continuous monitoring and response. In that case, higher education institutions should support the genesis and sharing of info so that they can safeguard and strengthen the well-being of a large number of people. Let all higher education institutions prioritize this mission so that they can identify, contain, and manage potential threats effectively.
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