Data Security for Educational Institutions: 5 Expert Tips

A few years back, cyber hacks were barely a thing. There was no news of data breaches, and threats on the Internet were hardly reported. However, as the greed took over people’s mind, cybercrime perpetrated and the technically-gifted individuals took a mischievous turn for their personal motives.

Fast-forward to today, and the situations haven’t improved for any good. In fact, the risks have become more profound and challenging, causing all sizes of organization to deal with compromised data, stolen research and reputational damage day in and out.

A problem that was once witnessed commonly in IT and the military industry now seems to be spreading across aviation line and educational institutions as well. And while all other industries are gradually learning to cope with data breach issues, educational institutions are taking quite a hit.

A high turnover rate of students and not-so-robust data security arrangement is exposing a multitude of devices online, and the usage of easy-to-crack usernames and passwords is making the job of hackers smoother.

Amidst such vulnerabilities, full-proof measures have to be introduced, and the data security practices to be bolstered. So, these are some ways to strengthen your educational institution’s defense walls and keep the cyberspies at bay –

  1. Provide User Training

Giving the students and staff a basic training to operate safely on the educational network is utmost essential to mitigate the risks of weak IT system. A simple thing that can be done is to share a guidebook with everyone that dictates safe cyber practices and ways to surf and store data online. Give the people information about their access gateways and possible negligence that can be committed. And since the cybersecurity world is ever-evolving, take help of regular training sessions to reinforce the learning.

  1. Encourage Multi-Factor Authentication

In order to ensure the safety of your staff and students, you must implement a user-friendly multi-factor authentication mechanism where the computers and laptops grant access only after presenting two or more evidence by the user. By doing that, you can safeguard the network against any unauthorized access and decrease the chances of cyberattacks.

  1. Offer Cloud-Based Storage Option

Though on-premise data offers complete control, it has its challenges. Proper physical security is required to secure the data servers, especially if the organization is operating on a large scale. But if you are looking for alternatives, then cloud-based storage proves to be a great choice as it is expandable and can be password protected to limit access. Besides, the deleted and formatted data (if any) can be retrieved conveniently. All you need is a data recovery expert.

  1. Enforce Data Security Policy

Data breaches are common instances during the exchange of sensitive information between students and faculty or administration. However, when there are strict security policies in regards to Email and social media in place, you can steer away from them. Be watchful over violent and explicit content being accessed by anyone in the university premises. Also, allow only SSL certified websites for study and research purpose as this can build stronger data security shields.

  1. Monitor the Flow of Data

The users in the institution are usually the biggest threats to data security. A majority of people can already access all the confidential files on the server and move/transfer them without anyone knowing. Unfortunately, as a result, when the attack happens, it can be overwhelming to find the root cause of the attack. So, it is best to have Data Loss Prevention (DLP) systems in place to have control over such kind of data and encrypt it if it is in a vulnerable location.