October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It's important that higher education institutions take this to review and update their long-term strategies for cybersecurity on campus.
Since 2005, there have been over 540 higher education security breaches – leading several institutions to pay thousands of dollars to hackers, while others have had financial information compromised and high-value personal information stolen.
According to IBM, the average cost per data record from a higher education institution is around $200 – doubling-down on the fact that if a campus neglects investing in a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, it may end up paying large amounts to restore campus usability.
It’s critical that campus officials understand the threats to cybersecurity and how to protect their campus, as well as how to handle the aftermath if it goes unnoticed.
5 Prevalent Threats to Campus Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity threats manifest in many different ways and forms – it’s best to make sure your campus security infrastructure is prepared for everything. Below are five of the most prevalent threats to campus cybersecurity.
Hackers are becoming more innovative as well as destructive, and as technology develops, IT professionals are nervous that advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence, could progress cyberattacks even farther.
With this in mind, it’s essential that institutions make sure to continually analyze the IT landscape and to review or update current procedures or protocols to make sure they are protected against the most current threat.
8 Best Practices for Campus Cybersecurity
SafeColleges Training encourages administrators to utilize, or share with their IT staff, these best practices for cybersecurity on campus:
- Create a list of campus IT vulnerabilities, prioritize each, and then as soon as possible minimize the risk of each vulnerability.
- Actively monitor campus networks for suspicious behavior.
- Analyze the industry around the clock to be prepared against any new or improved threats, so that you can build preventative measures in real time.
- Enforce secure passwords and implement two factor authentication for all campus users.
- Encrypt communications and sensitive data stored on campus servers or networks.
- Encourage campus users to use anti-virus protection software. (Most universities and colleges offer this free for students and employees.)
- Always install and update third party software. Many providers will roll out improvements to security.
- Train students, faculty and staff on general data security, cybersecurity threats, how to recognize threats, and what to do if a threat occurs.
As the tech landscape continues to advance, so do the best practices for campus cybersecurity. It’s important to keep employees and students up to date with the latest information so that everyone can play a role in keeping your campus safe.
How SafeColleges Can Help
The SafeColleges Training System includes several courses for both students and employees to help improve cybersecurity on your campus, such as Cybersecurity Overview, Protection Against Malware, Password Security Basics, Browser Security Basics, Email and Messaging Safety. These courses cover a range of topics that are essential when it comes to utilizing technology on campus and the importance of understanding cybersecurity threats that face institutions for higher education.