IT Security for Educational Institutions

Posted by Sabrina Sturm Tue, 28 May 2013 06:28:00 GMT

Schools, colleges and universities face data security issues on a regular basis. Educational institutions are a prime target for hackers as they have a large collection of sensitive information including student and faculty names, social security numbers, dates of birth, race and contact information.

The nature of IT systems at educational institutions presents a unique challenge because their IT infrastructure is decentralized and often difficult to manage. Among these challenges is a diverse user population, the usage of thousands of devices and the inability to reach each user and ensure they are following IT proper security protocol. 

Here are a few simple ways educational institutions can increase IT security:

Passwords

Require faculty, student and staff to reset their passwords regularly. In addition to scheduled password resets, require passwords to be strong. See our blog, “The Importance of a Strong Password” for more information on how to increase your password strength. 

Use a VPN

While students may not need it, faculty and staff should use a VPN if they are off-campus and need to access departmental servers or services that require a campus IP address. HOB RD VPN is a comprehensive software solution that allows employees to reach their data with strong encryption and authentication—perfect for educational institutions. 

In addition to these simple steps, utilizing free resources such as Educause can help IT professionals at educational institutes develop comprehensive security plans and effective approaches to IT security. Once a security plan is established, be sure to communicate, maintain and update it regularly.

What are some additional ways educational institutions can increase IT security? Please share in the comments below. 

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