While students flock to universities, community colleges and other higher learning institutions to continue their education, these same institutions are rapidly learning a lesson of their own: Data security in higher education and universities is one of the top issues facing education leaders today.
One of the first use cases for the internet was to connect educational institutions. Today, higher education thrives on online access. From connecting departments and colleagues to each other and other institutions to powering internet-connected printers to feeding students' insatiable hunger for bandwidth, higher education institutions are as connected as you can get. In addition, online classes continue to grow in popularity, while the pandemic meant that most institutions conducted the bulk of their operations completely online for months or more at a time.
As a result, security issues in higher education and universities are prevalent. According to Verizon's 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, the education industry suffered 1,332 security incidents over the last year, resulting in 344 breaches. This made the education industry the sixth most attacked industry studied in the report.
The rapid switch to online classes during the pandemic provided opportunities for cyber criminals to use social engineering tactics on students to instigate fraudulent fund transfers. In addition, the misconfiguration of databases challenged the data security in higher education institutions by allowing hackers to install ransomware or other malware.