Higher education continues to receive failing grades when it comes to keeping its files safe from hackers, finishing last in a recent study conducted by the security ratings firm BitSight. The problem for higher ed is tight budgets, a lack of control, and an open environment needed for bring-your-own-device programs.
Despite eight recorded breaches this year, higher ed has stayed out of the headlines because the attacks tended to be small. However, the large amount of valuable intellectual property, connections to other campus organizations, and student information are tempting to hackers.
“They have a lot of intellectual property that would be nice for others to have, and their systems aren’t very well protected,” Stephen Boyer, chief technology officer and co-founder of BitSight, said in an article in CRN Magazine. “I think we’re going to continue to see these types of breaches.”
The open culture of academia is another security issue, according to Robert Desman, director of business development at Carceron Managed IT Services.
“More than any single thing, it’s a cultural issue, and we’re still in the infancy of where the institutions are in terms of being security-conscious,” Desman said. “They’ll go ahead and build up their police forces if they have a lot of incidents, but it’s always a case of closing the barn door after the horses have gotten out.”