Cybersecurity for Colleges and Universities

Author: Mandy Remke

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many technology challenges for higher education and has also made it increasingly important for college and university administrators and IT departments to pay closer attention to their cybersecurity practices. The massive influx of remote learning challenges affecting each institution have been paralleled with heavy increases in cybersecurity threats. These threats are often caused by unsecured user connections back to the university network.

Significant Aspects for Colleges and Universities During the Pandemic:
  • Access for Students, Faculty, and Staff - Many schools have been concerned that students and/or faculty/staff would not have robust-enough home internet service to participate in online courses. Eight months into the pandemic most access issues have been solved, but has as much attention been paid to the security of that access?
  • Security for University Equipment - While computers, etc. are off-site they are more easily exposed to viruses, spyware and potential ransomware. Students and staff can bring that comprised device back to the school network when they return to campus.
  • Engagement via Web Cams - Professors are looking for better ways to engage students during class. Some professors require students to be on camera during lectures to determine if they are engaged. It’s a very different dynamic than in-person teaching, and if someone has poor Internet or a non-working web cam, this can also cause isolation, non-engagement, potential depression, etc.
Protecting Your University

Two important steps that can significantly increase your campus’s cybersecurity are having a secure VPN and using two-factor authentication, which most colleges and universities have already put into place.

Another way your college or university can produce a significant positive impact on its
overall cybersecurity hygiene is by requiring students, faculty and staff take simple cybersecurity education classes. Implementing required cybersecurity education training for anyone on your school’s network or school-owned computers can decrease your risk of a breach. Cybercriminals have always targeted school email addresses and are aware of the added cybersecurity vulnerabilities to colleges and universities that accompany the pandemic. Employees and students should be trained and their knowledge tested on spotting phishing scams through email and SMS messages. In addition there are many other cybersecurity best practices that anyone affiliated with the university needs to be aware of in order to reduce the occurrence of a cyber event.

How NXTsoft Can Help Safeguard Your Campus

ThreatAdvice Educate’s micro-learning, video-based cybersecurity courses and testing facilitate top of mind awareness for cybersecurity best practices.

ThreatAdvice Educate courses are easy for students, faculty and staff to understand and encourage engagement and completion through a fun gamification component. And, tracking user progress is a breeze for administrators.

ThreatAdvice Endpoint and SIEM - Always On Threat Coverage

ThreatAdvice Educate provides phishing and SMS-Phishing simulations to test that
users are putting what they learn into practice in a real world environment. Cyber education is the key component to protecting students, staff and your college or university as a whole from a devastating data breach. NXTsoft can help you implement an easy, yet effective, cybersecurity education solution at your institution.

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November 19, 2020
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