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Cybersecurity

12/5/2017

Colleges and universities have become a favorite target of cybercriminals because of the sheer volume of student information they handle—and the fact that payment processing happens all over campus, from the ticketing office to the bursar’s office to the cafeteria. In addition to endangering students and damaging the reputation of the institution, the financial costs of a data breach could include legal representation, fines, and the expense of notifying affected individuals.

More than 1,100 campus tech leaders and innovators from across the nation flocked to Las Vegas for the June 6-8 event, descending upon The Mirage Convention Center for three days of insight and inspiration.

Here are some reasons to switch to a passive optical network. (Click to enlarge graphic)

Unlike wine or cheese, networks don’t tend to improve with age. That’s why some higher ed institutions are looking toward passive optical LAN—unlike copper cabling that’s been in place for decades, a fiber-based passive optical network offers faster, cheaper and more secure networks.

Helping faculty adopt instructional technology is a top IT priority in higher ed.

Although it has been a boon to commercial services such as Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and others, cloud computing hasn’t completely caught on in higher education. That’s according to the 2015 “Campus Computing Project” report, released in October at the Educause conference in Indianapolis.

Picture this: sticky notes on every screen. And if there are none on the monitor, lift up the keyboard. Nothing there? Try opening the pencil drawer.

When a school hears from the FBI, the news is not likely to be good. Two years ago, FBI agents informed Maricopa County Community College District administrators that data from the 10-college system in Arizona had been posted on the internet. With a possible data breach underway, the system’s website was shut down immediately and school officials began to investigate.

The University of Michigan’s very decentralized campus means it has multiple IT departments, numerous technologies and plenty of cloud applications. “We basically use everything you can think of when it comes to the cloud,” says Don Welch, chief information security officer. “Colleges here have their own relationships with providers, and their own strategies with information storage. So it’s a big task to set central policies, but it’s important to take on that role.”

Joe Adams, Interim President and CEO and Vice President of Research and Cyber Security, Merit Network

A 2013 survey of institutions that have a formal policy covering user-provisioned technologies. (Click to enlarge)

Controlling bandwidth is just one reason why colleges and universities have adopted BYOD policies. Improving computer security, providing reliable internet access for classroom work, and simply letting faculty, staff and students use their favorite devices have driven wider acceptance of BYOD strategies.

While each campus is unique, an audit may reveal surprising  information about the many places credit cards are accepted as  payment. (Click to enlarge)

Those involved in securing credit card data used in higher ed transactions need to be aware that banks are beginning to exercise greater scrutiny over these activities. It’s more important than ever that campus officials get a firm hold on, and a clear understanding of, this aspect of their operations.

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