Fall semesters are starting across the country, and freshmen – with their variety of networked technologies in tow – are preparing to begin their next phase of life at an institution of higher learning.
Students will take part in cyber commerce on and off campus; campus administrators will add these new identities to campus databases; faculty will keep teaching in an era where students are already social media experts, influencing friends online, and using learning management systems.
The regulations and security measures your campus’s chief information security officer and the IT department have set up may not be something those first-year students are prepared for.
Cybersecurity challenges in higher ed
The primary concern for IT leaders in higher education continues to be cybersecurity. These education leaders in cybersecurity and IT must be firm and clear about their expectations. As Helen Norris, the current CISO for Chapman University and head of the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors, recently told a Senate committee focused on education, “the cybersecurity threat landscape has grown and transformed over the years.”
Higher education faces risks from hacking, phishing, ransomware and social engineering and is an easy target for attackers. Managing private student and research data reveals the challenges that small and resource-constrained schools have in defending against ransomware. And as Norris highlighted, higher ed is “at a disadvantage in competing with employers in the tech sector when hiring information security professionals.” As it is, there’s a significant cybersecurity skills gap – to the tune of a shortage of 2.7 million skilled cybersecurity professionals, according to the latest reports from ISC(2).
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