cybersecurity IT issues

3 reasons why cybersecurity is such a problem for higher ed

A growing number of threats are engineered to target a specific institution and its unique vulnerabilities. What should institutions do?

As the volume and rate of complex cyber-attacks such as malware, ransomware, DNS data exfiltration and phishing continue to rise exponentially, higher education institutions are now struggling to deal with a tsunami of threats. To add to the challenge, the vast majority of threats they face are engineered to target a specific institution and to exploit any vulnerabilities in its specific security systems and processes.

A system that becomes infected with malware presents a huge risk for any college or university. For example, in the case of an infected laptop, disconnecting the device from the network and removing the malware is time consuming and inconvenient, and there is a greater risk that a malware-infected laptop could be used to steal confidential data such as student information, financial data, usernames and passwords.

The financial and reputational impact that a data breach can have on an institution can be catastrophic, which is why cybersecurity is now a board agenda.

Basic Won’t Cut it Anymore

Many higher education institutions have already invested heavily in security solutions, but the bad actors continue to bypass many of the current security controls. Other institutions have underinvested

and only have basic protections in place, but now realize that it is simply a matter of time before this approach fails.

Why is this a hard problem for them to solve?

Even when an organization has deployed multiple security solutions such as Next Generation Firewalls, Secure Web Gateways, Sandboxing, Intruder Prevention Systems, Endpoint Anti-Virus, and other similar protections, the malicious actors are still able to get into the institution by exploiting weaknesses and gaps in its security posture.

The key driver for breaking into a college or university – or any organization, for that matter – is typically financial, which means that there is a game of cat and mouse played between the bad actors and institutions.

(Next page: 3 reasons cybersecurity remains an issue; the power of sharing)

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