Data Security Challenges For Higher Educational Institutions

In a world with an increasing dependence on technology, the rapid user adoption of multiple devices as a way to conduct business productively has quickly become a reality for organizations.

For Educators, this reality is even more evident with faculty and students using a variety of platforms to research, learn, access and store information. Given a school’s diverse and ever-changing population, regulatory compliance issues around privacy of student records, along with providing secure access into course material and other data by remote and transitional users, protecting this critical data presents a unique challenge.

The protection  of sensitive information such as student and parent information, financial records, loans, employment records, intellectual property, and other important documents is paramount for educational institutions.

It’s only natural that students come and go from term to term and that faculty members and administration move from school to school. When that happens, it’s important to understand how this impacts data security.

Without a system to manage all accounts and devices from a centralized location, it’s virtually impossible to ensure the security of data on every device.

With students and staff using an average of two to three devices simultaneously, the need for an operating system agnostic solution from a central location is even more imperative.

Today, laptops, tablets, shared workstations in classrooms and labs, USB keys, EFSS platforms, and personal mobile devices all provide ways for students and staff to access and share learning materials and in many cases, sensitive information. Just like corporate organizations, many schools are embracing the Bring Your Own Device trend and implementing policies that encourage their use.

The use of personal mobile devices can:

  • Increase productivity in staff, faculty and students
  • Provide flexible access to learning materials, like e-textbooks and apps, resulting in a more favorable learning environment
  • Reduce IT costs as devices are not purchased through the school

But – 50% of breaches are from laptops or other compromised locations, such as mobile devices.

With the increasing use of devices on campus, IT departments need to evolve to handle the growth. The challenge facing educators is how to develop a cost effective flexible strategy so that “Bring your own Device”, doesn’t turn into “Bring your own Disaster.”

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