As campus computer labs with all devices bolted to workstations become a thing of the past, students and faculty have more freedom than ever to transport their devices of choice to wherever they’re most comfortable working—both on campus and off.
But with so much technology plugging into and out of campus networks, the possibility of a security breach becomes inevitable. Institutions of higher learning are paying attention: EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit promoting the safe and effective use of technology on campus, named information security their #1 priority in 2016 after ranking it tenth last year.
College Campuses Are Prime Targets Of Cyber Attack
College campuses are now the third most targeted institutions for cyber attack, behind only healthcare and retail organizations. It should be no surprise: College campuses house extensive financial data on students, faculty and the university itself; in addition to sensitive research data, health records and information on university affiliates.
Protecting the security and integrity of all this information and campus technology is critical; but it can’t be at the expense of open collaboration and connectedness. To find the right balance, we recommend the steps that follow.
1. Inventory All Data Across All Systems And Networks
In order to protect sensitive data, it is important to know where it all lives. Whether in the cloud, on a piece of hardware, on mobile devices or in emails, the IT security team needs to know where it is.
2. Centralize Security Management
On sprawling campuses with countless mobile attack vectors, a comprehensive security strategy with full visibility of network environments from the cloud to the perimeter to all endpoints is critical. The strategy is best managed from a single, centralized platform that enables security teams to quickly detect, respond and remediate threats before they turn into big problems that run up operational costs and tie up IT resources.
3. Develop An Open Security Platform To Minimize Harms
There are plenty of tools and products available to manage security that work exceptionally well on their own, but are incompatible with other systems. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial to develop an open security platform wherein products and services that detect and respond to security risks can communicate with each other and share real time threat intelligence easily. This is the idea behind the new “security fabric” developed by our partner, global cybersecurity technology leader, Fortinet.
4. Make Students And Staff More Cyber Aware
It only takes one infected device to cause a major security breach. All the infrastructure and protocols in the world won’t stop threats if students and staff don’t know how to prevent and report them. Comprehensive cybersecurity training should occur at orientation for students and annually for staff to ensure the whole community is invested in protecting data.
Delegate Cybersecurity To Experts
Creating and deploying a robust security platform can be daunting—especially when it’s not your core competency. With our extensive experience delivering and managing security solutions for higher education, neteffect technologies can keep campus data and systems secure so you can stay focused on keeping an open, connected learning environment.