In the technology-driven world of today, organisations from every industry are dependent on computers and other interconnected devices to achieve their business goals. If these technologies become vulnerable, or worse, are subject to malicious attack, it can significantly affect an organisation’s profits or reputation. Cybercriminals actively seek out the easiest targets to perform their attacks. The education industry in particular is at risk of these attacks due to several challenges that the industry faces. A free e-book published by Malwarebytes recently discusses these challenges, what causes them, and how they can be fixed.
One of the primary challenges that the education industry faces is limited IT resources. Many educational institutions lack the funding for IT or security professionals and resources to meet demand. Schools are often very restricted by budgets, and it can be easy for the demands for any department to not be met, especially IT. This can lead to solutions that have not been securely set up, and these solutions can often be left alone for some time without paying proper attention to security patches or best practice. Often, IT departments do not have the resources to provide the best security solutions possible for their institution.
Due to the nature of educational institutions, it can be hard to close all gaps in protection around the campus. Data is often stored and shared between departments, students and faculty, in an unsecured manner. This is another challenge that the industry can face. It can be easy for a malicious actor to find a security hole in the campus network and use their attack to compromise student and faculty data.
IT departments also have to handle the demand of BYOD solutions become more popular in educational institutions. BYOD allows students to bring their devices and connect to the campus network. This solution has the advantage of saving on technology costs, and making life easier for students, but poses a significant security risk. Student machines are an unknown entity on the network, unmanaged by the IT department. These machines could be vulnerably and become compromised. Endpoint security is becoming extremely important for BYOD deployments.
Another challenge that IT departments face is problems with offline protection. Students may take devices home, where network security is not as strong, and they become infected with viruses. Students then bring the devices back to school, meaning that there are now infected devices on the school network, which then means IT departments must spend time removing the malware.
Another problem that some educational institutions face is responses to security incidents. With the limited resources that IT departments have, it can be difficult to have the time and human resources to appropriately respond to incidents. IT departments also often spend too much time on reactive incident response methods, rather than implementing proactive security measures. Incident response times are often very high, which can cause more issues down the line.
Most of the challenges that have been discussed in this article can often be traced back to a lack of resources in the IT department. It can be easy to overlook IT demand, especially in public schools, but IT security in schools is more important now than it has ever been. The cost of a breach is ever-increasing as schools rely on technologies more.
To learn more about the IT security challenges that the education industry faces, click here to read the free Malwarebytes e-book, or contact Agilient today to learn more about the benefits of a secure IT infrastructure in your educational institution.