Data and Device Security

Data and Device Security

Simple Tips to Managing Data and Device Security for Higher Ed
As cyber threats evolve and become more sophisticated, universities find themselves increasingly targeted by cybercriminals. The surge in ransomware attacks in recent years highlights a pressing need for universities to reinforce their cybersecurity defenses. The impact of inadequate protection is felt strongly—on universities’ sensitive data as well as their reputation and financial stability. Below we’ll explore the cybersecurity challenges unique to higher education, identify common vulnerabilities, and discuss how asset management partners like LyncVerse can fortify university defenses against cyber threats.

The Growing Threat Landscape in Higher Education
The increase in cyberattacks on universities and institutions of higher learning is partly due to the expansive and often complex digital ecosystems that universities manage. These ecosystems encompass numerous endpoints: from administrative offices to expansive campus networks. The increasing reliance on remote and online learning platforms has extended the traditional network perimeter even further, making every user endpoint a potential weak link in security. The more endpoints you have, the more vulnerabilities you also have for a cybercriminal to exploit. Universities must keep a tight lock on all their endpoint devices, including faculty and student laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices.

Another significant vulnerability to university networks is the high risk associated with third-party integrations. Universities frequently rely on external vendors for various services, from data processing to online learning platforms, each introducing potential security gaps that could lead to data breaches.

Essentially, universities have a large attack surface; each additional endpoint increases risk. These endpoints often lack consistent cybersecurity measures and may use diverse operating systems that require specific security configurations. To make matters more complicated, these extensive networks often include neglected sites and systems running on outdated software, which are more susceptible to exploitation. Cybersecurity for the higher education sector is notoriously underfunded, and IT departments often struggle to keep pace with the rapid advancements in cyber threat tactics.

Leveraging Asset Management for Enhanced Security
Partnering with a comprehensive asset management firm can significantly mitigate these risks. These service providers specialize in tailoring cybersecurity solutions to the unique needs of higher education, offering services that range from initial cybersecurity assessments to ongoing threat monitoring and response. Services that we believe all universities would benefit from include:

-Comprehensive Asset Management: Tracking and managing all device lifecycles within the institution, ensuring that each device is up to date with the latest security patches and configurations.

-Proactive Attack Surface Reduction: Identifying and decommissioning dormant or unnecessary internet-facing assets to minimize potential entry points for cyber attackers.

-Advanced Endpoint Protection: Implementing robust security measures tailored to the diverse ecosystem of devices and operating systems within university networks.

-Vendor Integration: We help universities to integrate third-party vendor software to ensure security, compliance, and long-term effectiveness.

Choosing the Right Endpoints
A crucial part of higher ed cybersecurity includes choosing the right devices; the endpoints you choose can truly make or break your security plan. There are many excellent options out there, but we particularly want to highlight HP Wolf Security. One of the key features of HP endpoints is the ability to self-heal from an attack. Integrated into HP devices, Wolf Security provides a hardware-enforced security layer that can isolate suspicious files in micro-virtual containers, preventing your entire device from being overcome by a virus. HP Wolf Security implements a zero-trust policy, assuming no entity within a network is trustworthy until verified, which provides a strong defense against phishing and malware attacks. Considering that up to 95% of cyberattacks have been attributed to user error, it’s a good plan to invest in devices that can do some of the protecting for you.

Choose the Right Partner
It’s increasingly important for the education sector to invest proactively in cybersecurity: there’s too much at risk. By understanding your unique risks, embracing comprehensive asset management solutions like the ones we offer, and strategically investing in the right devices, universities can significantly enhance their defense against cyber threats.

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