According to studies, the US education system ranks last for cybersecurity among all other industries in the USA. This is mostly because schools and colleges often don’t think that they might be targeted by cybercriminals, which, in fact, is wrong. According to experts, hackers can target educational facilities due to a variety of reasons, including financial profit, data theft, espionage, theft of intellectual property, and many others.
On top of that, let’s not forget that students themselves are quite easy targets for hackers. Today, college students mostly use their own smartphones, tablets, and laptops on campus. This means large volumes and a diversity of devices for hackers to attack. Moreover, students often use schools’ Wi-Fi to access a huge number of sites, from harmless paper writing services they use to write my essay online or help with other assignments to different malicious sites that can increase security breaches.
Due to these reasons, in today’s world, it’s crucial that all schools and colleges protect their systems and students from cyber threats. And the only question is how to do this. Read on, and we will give you a few handy tips to make this real.
- Teach Students How to Protect Themselves
First and foremost, to reduce security breaches, every school and college should educate their students about key security topics. Teach them to distinguish between trusted and malicious sources. Explain to them the importance of ratings, feedback, and online reputation, so that they know they have to read, for example, an objective domyessay.com review before they can use this essay writing service. Also, teach them the importance of strong passwords and other security measures, such as two-factor authentication.
The more educated every student is, the more high-quality cybersecurity your facility will have in general. So use this tip as a starting point.
- Create a Detailed BYOD Policy
As was mentioned earlier, most college students use their own devices on campus. Often, this is not regulated by schools. But if you want to boost cybersecurity, you have to take control over all devices that connect to the school’s system.
The easiest way to control and regulate guest devices is to incorporate a solid BYOD policy. BYOD translates as “bring your own device.” In a nutshell, this policy dictates how guest devices can access the system and what they can do within it. Ideally, your BYOD policy should imply that guest devices always stay on a separate guest network to protect your internal network from additional threats.
- Implement Authorized Access
The next security tip is rather common. Today, many schools and colleges have several Wi-Fi spots – one meant solely for guests, one meant for students, and one more meant solely for faculty and staff. By having several networks, schools can ensure better cybersecurity, monitor traffic more closely, and generally make internet access on campus more controlled and comfortable for everyone.
To use this tip, schools need to implement authorized access to every network. While guest networks might be free, the networks for students and staff should be accessed with the help of a unique login and password.
- Have a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan
Today, cybercriminals can be pretty sneaky and inventive. That is, sometimes, they can get even through solid security systems and cause damage. And schools should be prepared for this.
To take your facility’s security to the next level, you need to have a detailed response plan to a cybersecurity incident. Such plans are aimed at helping facilities minimize the damage caused by such incidents and recover from them faster. Without such a plan, the consequences of the slightest cyberattack can be devastating.
- Consider Hiring a CISO
Finally, there is one more tip that can help schools and colleges boost cybersecurity. A professional CISO (or Chief Information Security Officer) is a person responsible for all information security measures and issues in a facility. A person in this role is responsible for assessing the current state of cybersecurity regularly, identifying weak spots, and coming up with solutions that can strengthen the overall safety of the system. On top of that, CISO is responsible for dealing with any security issues that have already taken place and mitigating their negative effects.
Hiring a full-time CISO can make a real difference in the way schools and colleges deal with cybersecurity. So don’t neglect this tip!
The Bottom Line
Despite a common belief, educational facilities have always been popular targets of cybercriminals and hackers. Using the breaches in schools’ and colleges’ security systems, criminals can access them, steal data, and cause lots of damage. And the only way to prevent this is to take your school’s cybersecurity to the next level.
Of course, ensuring the safety of the entire system and hundreds of users is a complex matter that requires significant commitments. Nevertheless, it always starts with small steps to achieve any goal. After reading this article, you now know about the top five small steps that schools and colleges can start making right now to boost cybersecurity. Keep them in mind and apply them in practice to make your school or college a safer place!