Cyber Security: A Concern in Education

As we see education getting digitized and traditional approaches getting modified moving into the use of evolving digital technologies, it has become imperative to understand the risks and consequences attached to it.  

With education, administrative work, data management and everything goes online it becomes important to address the risks associated with it. Cyber Security plays an important role in such a case. Vulnerabilities can be everywhere in your network and managing every possible risk of being exploited is an unfair battle. In order to protect all of these areas, you have to understand how cyber-attacks function from the beginning to the end. To make sure all such things are taken care of within the educational institutes Cyber Security professionals are required in the organizations that can take care of all these issues. 

As schools, colleges, and universities become more connected, it opens up a world of possibilities for students. The IT market suggests today we have around 15 billion devices utilizing an IP address, and that number is expected to grow to approximately 500 billion devices by 2030. Everything from the drinking fountains on the playground to the light bulbs illuminating classrooms will utilize an IP address for administration and monitoring purposes. While this brings numerous benefits to faculty, staff, and students, the increased number of devices utilizing an IP address means there are more entry points a hacker can target – and therefore more areas that need security focus.

As technology and internet use pervades through schools, schools are right to embrace the efficiency and benefits that the cloud learning tools offer, but with greater connectivity, comes a need for greater responsibility to protect the sensitive data they hold. The following points will help you understand the need of the same:

- To Secure Schools:

  Schools are charged with the duty to protect children in their care but given the increasing dependence on connectivity, as well as the use of the Internet as part of the standard learning approach, it is essential that they suitably provide this. They must make sure that the risk of cyber bullying activities is not there through application controls and other preventive tools.

- Protection of The Reputation:

From competitive state run schools, to exclusive globally known independent brands, schools strive to protect their reputation from the potentially catastrophic impact of a cyber-attack and exposure of sensitive information.

An essential first step in improving cyber security in education is first assessing the current cyber security posture. This is needed step to further plan for the things that needs to be reconsidered. To keep the school cyber secure few steps must be taken. Three simple steps that can help improve an institution’s cyber security posture are:

- Access Control Policies:

Authentication should go beyond simple user-name and password to include additional factors where appropriate, such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), which can go a long way to better securing a network. Additionally, authorization must be managed on a least-privilege basis. Directories and privileges must be kept up-to-date.

- Data protection:

Sensitive information should be encrypted both at rest and in transit.

- The flow of information:

Institutes need to also consider the safest way to share data. “One policy should be prohibiting staff from using popular services like Dropbox to transfer student records and other sensitive information,” says Jonathan Rajewski, Assistant Professor of Digital Forensics at Champlain College in Vermont.

And, beyond the sharing of data, organizations need to be mindful of the flowing out of data. As networks that seem to be bleeding data are often experiencing symptoms of potentially malicious activity.

What’s your take on the importance of cyber security in education?

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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