Cybersecurity in Higher Education: Understanding the Threats & Adopting A Zero Trust Approach
By Emma Rantanen - October 01, 2021
Higher education has become quite the attractive target for cyber and ransom attacks.
While there’s no real way to prevent them all, understanding vulnerabilities, common types of cyberattacks and how to prevent them can help college and university leaders prioritize their security strategies to help keep institutional data and students safe.
Why colleges and universities are an attraction for cyber attacks
All corporations face an increasing number of cybersecurity challenges in 2021, but higher ed is an even more appealing industry for cybercriminals. The reasons are as follows:
- Research: Attackers are often drawn to the sensitive content. For example, an emerging research project.
- Large user networks: Schools have many users who simply will click on anything. Through this, malware is able to enter the system.
- Personal data: Schools/Universities output large amounts of sensitive, personally identifiable information such as finances, medical records and most importantly Social Security numbers.
COVID-19 has made breaching higher education networks even easier. Now that both teachers and students are connecting to their educational portals remotely, from potential unsecured wireless networks, and communicating online.
How can higher ed defend itself against cyberattacks?
While there’s no single tool to prevent all cyberattacks, leaders within the institution can take proactive steps to prevent and remediate many breaches by prioritizing a cybersecurity strategy:
The installation of threat detection tools, such as data loss prevention software, that analyze a security ecosystem to quickly identify malicious activity so that mitigation efforts can be enacted.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Put an IT security strategy in place
Outside something of a major breach, cybersecurity has not typically been on the radar of those at the highest levels of management at institutions around the world. However, given the evolving and increasing threat of cyberattacks, prioritizing a cybersecurity strategy is now fundamental to creating a more secure and financially stable future for higher ed.
If your team is feeling the strain, reach out to our cyber security experts at Veriato.
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