Cybersecurity has never been as big of a concern as it is today because, well, technology is simply a standard, everyday part of our lives. We’re constantly doing most everything online (our taxes, banking, shopping, etc.) and, while eliminating a large paper trail and making certain tasks much more efficient, we could also be putting some very important information at risk. Institutes of higher education are especially susceptible as they are filled with computers, hard drives and software just brimming with important personal identification data.
I’ll be reviewing four cybersecurity tips for institutes of higher education and they are mostly simple common sense practices.
1. Communication is Key
For example: communication between staff (including professors, administrators and information technology professionals) is key and should always be open and available. Because there is so much pressure put on professors and academic staff to constantly relay information (and not just in the classroom), their inboxes are inundated with emails while they must navigate the red tape of guiding students individually during office hours, etc. The administrative aspect of universities can be overwhelming (we can all mostly remember deliberating over every credit, making sure to graduate on time and in good form) so it’s vital that communication is open between IT professionals and teachers.
There are several methods that hackers may use to obtain sensitive information. One of the most prevalent instances of cyber attacks comes in the form of email phishing scams so it’s incredibly important to be able to recognize these threats and to be prepared when it comes to reporting them. It’s also imperative that a plan be in place that details a course of action in case someone has unknowingly responded to a phishing email scam.
2. Protect Against Incoming Threats and be Prepared
If there’s a hack or a blackout in a computer system that can disrupt intellectual discourse and can completely ruin a day of education and progress. It’s highly important and effective to introduce a way of getting information across in a crisis: set up a system where high-priority messages can be seen and acted upon quickly.
In this case, desktop alerts are incredibly helpful. Another course of action for the insurance of cybersecurity within institutes of higher education is to filter incoming information. Certain filters and blocks for websites are essential to combatting access to highly sensitive information and can quell the threat of online criminality. We also know that it is a very good idea to have a filter on certain emails (especially those coming from outside the country).
3. Have a Back-Up Plan
It’s also essential that a comprehensive data backup plan be in place in the case of such an emergency. In order to protect software and keep our electronic data safe from theft and disruption (as well as information services from becoming compromised), it is vital to have a comprehensive recovery plan.
4. Invest in Cybersecurity Education
It’s more important than ever to teach cybersecurity within our schools; more educational programs focused on this very subject would be helpful to educators as well as students. Our most delicate information and very identities dwell online—it’s simply the modern world in which we live. It should be on our minds now more than ever that cybersecurity within institutes of higher education is a top priority—for our children, our fellow educators and our IT experts.
Technology is here to help us and, with more information and education (including college courses), it’s even more helpful and, most importantly, more secure and effective. For more information on cybersecurity tips along with additional resources, don’t forget to contact us at Cybint.