How to Help Educators Focus on Teaching, Not Cybersecurity

The sheer number of computers and devices connecting to educational networks – whether in classrooms, administrative offices, research labs, or students’ hands – is growing exponentially. Couple that with legal mandates to protect students, and it's clear cyber threats must be taken seriously by the education sector.

Given the educational system’s rising number of connected computers and mobile devices, the sophistication and impact of cyberattacks are becoming more significant.

No industry, not even education, is immune to the dangers of cyberattacks. As leaders across all industries grow increasingly aware of the risks that arise when technologies evolve, information security takes on greater importance.

Like other sectors, education has been adopting a heightened focus on cybersecurity in the last few years. In fact, according to a recent report from the K-12 Security Information Exchange, “There’s been a five-fold increase in incidents since 2016, with 1,180 reported incidents connected to U.S. public schools in that time. At least 128 school districts have seen repeat attacks.”

Although educational institutions may not seem as wealthy or as target-rich as healthcare organizations or private businesses, they house a significant amount of sensitive personal and financial information (as well as valuable proprietary research data).

When institutions cannot safeguard their most sensitive resources, data, or user information they’re entrusted to protect, there are dangerous (and often expensive) consequences.

Educational data breaches cost institutions dearly

According to IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Study, public and private universities, colleges, training programs, and development companies saw a total cost of data breaches across their industry of $3.79 million. If an institution is breached, it'll undoubtedly get hit with financial losses. If an educational institution isn't hit with a cyberattack, it's likely due to having made a significant investment in robust security. Unfortunately, that kind of funding isn't generally a top-line priority for many cost-conscious school systems.

Today, educational institutions face a multitude of security challenges. Often, they’re forced to solve such problems with somewhat limited budgets. As students, faculty, and administrators increasingly bring their own devices to tether to networks, educational organizations must scale bandwidth and provide secure access. Add to that the spike in remote and e-learning and you’ll see it’s imperative to act now.

There’s no doubt about it: Sensitive information must be secured. And compliance standards protecting students – such as HIPAA, CIPA, and FERPA – must be met. While educational institutions must have the latest security and networking technologies, limited budgets can make it seem impossible to find and purchase the resources to manage them.

Unfortunately, as data breaches, website defacement, viruses, malware, compliance, and DDoS attacks increase, educational institutions are pressed to focus more time and resources on security rather than teaching students.

With the risks and consequences of breaches rising, it's important to get security prioritized at the executive level, establishing a comprehensive strategy complete with buy-in from leaders in the education sector.

Tight resources challenge institutions striving for cybersecurity resilience

Given limited resources, it's difficult for grade schools, high schools, colleges, and universities to deploy specific cybersecurity tools. On top of that, schools and universities have a transient population. Some students are only active on campus for a few months at a time. And every year, at least 25% of the population is new. That means the attack surface is a moving target, constantly changing.

As a result, educational institutions must have comprehensive, integrated, 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 emerging threats.

Fix vulnerabilities fast, slash cost and complexity

Automox is a cloud-native IT operations platform that allows institutions to control their patch management automation, flow processes, and configuration enforcement — all from a single dashboard.

By automating patch management efforts from a single dashboard, Automox users ensure all their endpoints are always configured, always secured.

Installing the Automox agent is a quick process. It can take as little as 30 seconds for many organizations – depending on the process – for all Microsoft Windows, macOS, or Linux systems. And due to the education sector’s complexity, Automox WorkletsTM allows institutions to quickly create scripts that handle their network's requirements and custom applications.

Since the sum total of educational institutions’ infrastructure can be everywhere and anywhere and they face unique security challenges – ranging from tight budgets to astonishing numbers of BYOD devices and e-learning initiatives – Automox’s cloud-native architecture is built to handle these very diverse types of environments.

The mission is simple: Protect the education sector by improving the strategic value of its IT operations and bolstering its cyber hygiene practices despite the industry’s unique set of digital requirements.

Automox for Easy IT Operations

Automox is the cloud-native IT operations platform for modern organizations. It makes it easy to keep every endpoint automatically configured, patched, and secured – anywhere in the world. With the push of a button, IT admins can fix critical vulnerabilities faster, slash cost and complexity, and win back hours in their day.

Demo Automox and join thousands of companies transforming IT operations into a strategic business driver.

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