Education: Where the Focus Should Remain on Teaching, not Cybersecurity

With the amount of information, critical services, connected computers and mobile devices increasing across the digital world, the number, sophistication and impact of cyberattacks are becoming more and more significant. No industry is immune to dangerous hacks and attacks, and as leaders across all industries grow increasingly aware of the risks that arise when evolving technologies, business practices and user expectations collide, information security takes on increased importance.

One industry adopting a heightened focus on cybersecurity is the education sector. In fact, according to EDUCAUSE, information security is one of the most prevalent issues for IT leaders in higher education. Responsible for more than 11 percent of all data breaches in 2017, resulting in the compromise of more than 33 million records, the networks of educational institutions continue to be a favorite target of hackers and bad actors as institutions struggle to implement effective cybersecurity measures.

Although educational institutions may not seem as wealthy or as target-rich as health care organizations or private businesses, they happen to house a significant amount of sensitive personal and financial information as well as valuable proprietary research data. The sheer number of computers and devices connecting to an educational institution’s networks, whether in classrooms, administrative offices, research labs or those brought by students, coupled with legal mandates to protect these students, ensure that cyberthreats are something that education sector security professionals need to take seriously.

When institutions of education aren’t able to protect their most sensitive resources, data or user data that they’ve been entrusted to protect, there are dangerous and expensive consequences. As a matter of fact, according to the 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study, each data breach in the education sector cost $20 more per breach than the average across industries, and with more than 33 million breaches, the education industry is racking up a hefty cybersecurity bill. If an institution is breached, they'll get hit with financial losses. If they aren’t, it’s likely due to the significant investment in a robust security program.

Today, educational institutions face a multitude of security challenges, and oftentimes, they are forced to solve these problems with rather limited budgets. As students, faculty and administrators increasingly bring their own devices to tether to the network, educational organizations must scale bandwidth and provide secure access. Sensitive information must be secured and compliance standards protecting students, such as HIPAA, CIPA, and FERPA, have to be met. While it’s crucial for institutions in the education sector to have the latest security and networking technologies, limited budgets can make it seem impossible to purchase and then find the resources to manage them.

Unfortunately, as data breaches, website defacement, viruses, malware, compliance and DDoS attacks increase, they force educational institutions to focus more time and resources on security rather than teaching students. According to findings from the 2017 Breach Level Index, breached records in the education sector ballooned from approximately 4.5 million in 2016 to nearly 33.5 million last year. Incidents in that sector grew roughly 20 percent as well, from 166 to 199, highlighting the notion that attackers find ways around security tools, switch strategies and are able to hit different targets.

Cybersecurity doesn't often top the list of university leaders' priorities, but with the risks and consequences associated with breaches rising, it's important to get security on the radar at the executive level, establishing a comprehensive strategy complete with buy-in from higher-ups.

Today, it's difficult for grade schools, high schools, colleges and universities to catch up with the tools that the cybersecurity industry creates given the limited resources they have to work with. Educational institutions must have comprehensive, integrated and automated security networks designed to address the ever-evolving attack surface, the complexity of managing security and compliance and the growing volume and sophistication of threats.

One such solution is Automox, a cloud-native automated patch management and security solution. Automox assesses the vulnerability of your education environment, evaluating potential security threats, vulnerabilities and non-compliances before automatically patching vulnerabilities based upon your institution’s configured policies.

The cloud-native agent and policy engine allows institutions like University of British Columbia, University of Colorado, and the Association of American Universities, to control their level of patch management automation, flow processes and configuration enforcement — all from a single dashboard. By controlling the level of patch management automation from a single dashboard, Automox users are able to ensure every endpoint remains protected from harm. Other educational Automox customers include St. Joseph’s School, NY College of Podiatric Medicine, and The Taft School.

Installing the Automox agent is a quick, 30-second process for all of your Windows, Mac OS X or Linux systems, and due to the education sector’s complexity, Automox’s dynamic policy engine allows institutions to easily create scripts that handle their network's requirements and custom applications. Not only built for a mixed OS environment, Automox also natively patches third-party software, including Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Java, Firefox, Chrome, MS Office and others as part of our growing catalog.

Since educational institutions face unique security challenges ranging from tight budgets to astonishing numbers of BYOD devices and e-learning initiatives, Automox works with clients in the education industry to find the right solutions for their unique digital requirements.

About Automox

Facing growing threats and a rapidly expanding attack surface, understaffed and alert-fatigued organizations need more efficient ways to eliminate their exposure to vulnerabilities. Automox is a modern cyber hygiene platform that closes the aperture of attack by more than 80% with just half the effort of traditional solutions.

Cloud-native and globally available, Automox enforces OS & third-party patch management, security configurations, and custom scripting across Windows, Mac, and Linux from a single intuitive console. IT and SecOps can quickly gain control and share visibility of on-prem, remote and virtual endpoints without the need to deploy costly infrastructure.

Experience modern, cloud-native patch management today with a 15-day free trial of Automox and start recapturing more than half the time you're currently spending on managing your attack surface. Automox dramatically reduces corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to deliver best-in-class security outcomes, faster and with fewer resources.

Get Instant Updates on Vulnerabilities

Subscribe to receive Automox vulnerability alerts

Reduce your threat surface by up to 80%

Make all of your corporate infrastructure more resilient by automating the basics of cyber hygiene.

Take 15 days to raise your security confidence!
Start a Free Trial