Higher Education

Secure Data Storage For Higher Education

Protecting data is a significant challenge for educational institutions. Colleges and universities face vulnerabilities in data storage and network security, leading to potential multimillion-dollar losses from data breaches. Ciphertex® SecureNAS® provides a solution, enabling educational institutions to secure student, faculty, financial, and research data against malicious attacks and human errors.
Georgia Tech
In 2019, a data breach compromised the personal information of 1.3 million users, encompassing students, faculty, and other staff. The breach resulted from unauthorized access to the school’s web applications.
Washington State University
In 2017, a stolen hard drive, initially secured, resulted in cybercriminals accessing information from 1.2 million users, underscoring the imperative for robust physical security measures in higher education data. This incident serves as a lesson for other institutions to enhance their university data protection. The university, in response, settled by compensating each victim with $5,000.
Michigan State University
In a data security incident in 2016, the school incurred an estimated cost of $3 million. This incident underscores the critical necessity for robust data protection measures for students. Approximately 400,000 student and faculty records were compromised, exposing sensitive information like Social Security numbers and access credentials. In response, the school took corrective action by offering all affected individuals a credit monitoring service, covering the expenses for their use at no cost.
Maricopa Community College
The Arizona institution faced data breaches in 2011 and 2013, during which hackers gained access to the Social Security numbers, names, and addresses of teachers, students, and vendors. The compromised information was subsequently sold online for profit. The 2013 breach incurred a staggering cost of $26 million in the first year, and the institution faced prolonged lawsuits that extended for years thereafter.

Losing personally identifiable information (PII) in a breach is the most expensive, with an estimated recovery cost of around $150 per record if the breach resulted from oversight or human error. However, if the breach is a result of a malicious attack, the average cost increases to $175 per record. In the case of intellectual property, the average cost per record is $147.6.

Ponemon’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report concluded an average price tag of $3.86 million to a data breach. Although investing in security infrastructure can reduce this cost, the report highlighted additional expenses such as lawsuits, compliance with stricter privacy laws, and damage to reputation, which could potentially contribute millions more to the initial cost of the data breach.

Standards in Data Encryption for Universities

University data protection and privacy are not managed under one regulatory body. Data protection requirements are regulated by various entities, including:
Regulates the use and protection of personally identifiable information (PII), academic records, billing information, and some types of student medical records.
Various student medical records are protected under HIPAA. Records of patients who are not students but affiliated with universities are covered as well.
PCI compliance in higher education is a concern when financial records are exposed during data breaches; schools often face liability for the misuse of these records
Applies to data security involving certain types of academic research.
Another challenge is the absence of a centralized and robust university data protection program in many schools. IT services are frequently managed at the departmental level, often by student workers with minimal or no supervision. Meanwhile, risks both within and outside the university persist as malicious actors actively seek personal data.

Policy and Key Management

To enhance digital security for your school, it is imperative to operate under a robust cybersecurity policy. This entails implementing security encryption guidelines across all devices handling university data. To fortify protection against school data breaches, consideration must be given to the application of encryption technologies, including:
  • Transmission of sensitive data and passwords
  • Encrypted file transfer for personal and shared storage
  • Communication of data between web applications and client machines
  • Encryption of remote sessions via secure protocols (i.e., SSL, SSH)
  • Use of a Virtual Private Network with encrypted access to services
  • Whole disk encryption for laptops, phones, and other portable devices 
  • File level encryption on USB drives and other types of portable media
Without proper higher education data management, data security, endpoint security, and network security are at risk. A strong encryption key must be a part of your data security policy and any products you use.

Boosting Digital Security for Your School

Secure Data Storage: Implement data encryption for on-premise storage. Restrict server access for former staff, opting for private clouds or hybrid data storage solutions.

Encryption Software: The application should facilitate cloud collaboration, ensuring audit control across platforms. Its flexible configurations cater to diverse user types, security needs, and institutions. 

A Secure Website: A CMS(Content Management System) offers easy access and rich information. Choose an evolving open-source CMS, alongside two-factor authentication and secure file transfer. Implement a single sign-on for enhanced access control to multiple resources.

Cybersecurity Education: Human error often leads to cybercrimes. Educate regularly on security threats, emphasizing robust passwords, risks of malicious links, and proper reporting to IT. 

Manage Education Portable Data Systems: Educate on safe device use and restrict USB access to those with secure data encryption. 

Constant Data Monitoring: A high-performance security system can track data to prevent and minimize effect of attack. Data Loss Prevention software analyzes, blocks suspicious accounts, and flags policy violations for added data security. 

Data Backup and Recovery: Maintain a contingency plan for potential data breaches. Schools and universities can operate with a disaster recovery plan, supported by insurance coverage for data security incident costs. 

Invest in Ciphertex Data Security® Products

Higher education and research are at the forefront of innovation, yet they remain vulnerable to cybercrime. That’s where Ciphertex Data Security® comes in. Offering excellent efficiency with high range encrypted network storage capabilities that can connect seamlessly across any number devices for greater computing power while maintaining ultimate protection from hackers.

Ciphertex Data Security® provides reliable solutions designed specifically for high computing power and ultimate security to meet today’s institution’s needs.

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