A Vital Role
Campuses must embrace their responsibility to protect students and staff from cyber threats
From a campus security management standpoint, the
safety and security of students, staff, faculty and visitors
should be top of mind for administrators and security
staff alike. Ensuring the protection of people and facilities
reduces an institution’s potential risk and exposure.
However, the need for protection is not only limited to the physical,
as digital assets, individuals’ identities and sensitive information are
constantly under attack from bad actors. In our increasingly connected
world, any and all devices and systems that are connected to a
network pose potential risk and could even be used as an entry point
to gain access to even more networks, systems and data.
These risks are not merely theoretical. In research conducted by
CDW-G, 60 percent of IT professionals surveyed said their institution
had experienced a data breach in the last year, with 29 percent of
those breaches resulting in documented data loss. So while cybersecurity
may not be a top priority for university leaders, the risks and
consequences of network breaches place increased importance on
protecting the networks and systems that support the academic goals
of educational institutions.
According to the CDW-G survey, the main reason colleges and
universities are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks boils down to
a general lack of preparedness. In the study, less than half of campus
IT staff surveyed reported that they had implemented critical cybersecurity
measures like network segmentation (46 percent), endpoint
protection (45 percent), remote access controls (44 percent) and twofactor
authentication (39 percent).
The first step educational institutions should take to implement
the strongest level of cybersecurity is to develop a written cybersecurity
strategy that can be used to ensure that all devices and systems
comply with security policies. There are many factors that can come
into play with these policies, including compliance with regulations
and standards like GDPR, ISO 27001, PCI and others. It is also
important that devices are aligned with standard risk-management
tools and practices.
This article originally appeared in the March April 2020 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.
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