Cyber Security Threats to Higher Education Institutions

Cyber security is a topic which is at the top of many organizations priority lists. As more and more of our daily lives are moved online, it is essential to be as safe as possible when it comes to digital records, personal information, and more. Hackers are constantly at work with the goal of stealing valuable data, and only organizations who are committed to investing in cyber security will be able to stay one step ahead of the game.

While the threat of hacking has always been evident for businesses, it is now a concern for institutions of higher learning as well. These institutions face challenges which are unique to the way they operate, meaning they have to seek out appropriate solutions to keep their data safe and secure. Some of the specific cyber security threats which are faced by higher education institutions are listed below.

SECURING THE CLOUD
Most of the computing that happens at educational institutions happens at the cloud level. This makes sense for a lot of reasons, but it also opens the organization up to hacking efforts. To make sure that the data which is stored and shared in the cloud remains secure, the IT department has to pay special attention to this part of the equation.

EDUCATING USERS
It can be hard to grab the attention of students and faculty alike to have them focus on a topic like cyber security. Staff members have their own jobs to be concerned with, and the students are trying to balance classwork with their extracurricular activities. Getting the message through about cyber security is an important responsibility which is shared by everyone on campus can be tricky, to say the least.

A VARIETY OF DEVICES
On a large campus, it is impossible to control the various devices which are being used over the school’s network. This can present obvious challenges, as all of those devices are unlikely to be properly secured. This is another point which highlights the importance of user education. When everyone involved with the school understands the critical nature of cyber security for higher education, it will be easier to convince them that they need to be using appropriately secure devices.

CONTROLLING ACCESS
There are a number of different permission levels needed to properly manage the data associated with a learning institution. Providing all individuals with the right level of access is not always easy, especially with roles changing quickly on a big campus. When permissions are not handled correctly, it may lead to vulnerabilities in the system.

The IT department at an institution of higher learning has a serious challenge on their hands, to be sure. There are many cyber security threats faced by the average university, and the answers to those threats are not always easy to find. Of course, as is always the case with online security, taking a proactive approach is an important first step. Simply by being aware of the importance of cyber security and the many threats that are lurking, a school should be able to stay on track toward a successful future.