How to modernize cybersecurity in higher education

Learn how to keep higher education students and educators protected, compliant, and thriving by solving key challenges and threats to cybersecurity.

June 29 2022 by

Laurie Mona

Today's higher education isn’t limited to what goes on within the four walls of a classroom. Thanks to mobile and cloud technologies, teachers and students alike can now actively participate, collaborate and access learning resources without ever inhabiting the same space.

But this freedom from brick and mortar settings comes with new risks, making both users and the institutions themselves vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The recent rise of iOS- and macOS-targeting threats requires higher education institutions to proactively modernize the cybersecurity of their Apple devices.

In the webinar, “Getting Cyber Security in Higher Education Right, Olivier Capelle, Senior Manager, Education Sales at Jamf, shows how to improve cybersecurity in colleges and universities, with a discussion of today’s key security challenges and threats, recommended resources and solutions.

Safer with Apple, but not risk-free

Educational institutions choose Apple technology to provide effective, engaging learning environments, including native security features. Whether it’s Macbooks in the classroom or a 1-to-1 iPad program, IT admins appreciate Apple’s built-in security features, including:

  • Apple hardware security – unique capabilities designed into Silicon
  • Operating system security – maximized from startup to updates and ongoing operation
  • Encryption and data protection – safeguard user data, enable remote wipes
  • App security – layers of protection from malware and access to user data
  • Services security – enable more utility with Apple ID, iCloud, Apply Pay and more

While Apple devices are historically more secure right out of the box, they’re not safe from attacks. In 2021, a year into the pandemic, as we shifted to complete reliance on technology, with more institutions made vulnerable from using new systems, we’ve also seen increasing cyberattacks in higher education.

According to the National Cyber Security Centre, UK, “In recent incidents affecting the education sector, ransomware has led to the loss of student coursework, school financial records, as well as data relating to COVID-19 testing.”

Hybrid learning, new challenges

While remote learning enabled higher education to continue during the pandemic, the transition to remote and hybrid learning introduced new challenges for IT in four areas:

  • Users – behaviors can open to the door to risks (eg. phishing)
  • Devices – vulnerabilities can be exploited to compromise devices
  • Applications – can provide entry points for attacks
  • Networks – home and remote connection locations may not be secure (eg. MitM attack)

The reality is that when it comes to hybrid learning, most of the infrastructure used isn’t going to be institutionally owned or maintained, providing endless opportunities for disruption, theft of data, or denial of service. Effective mitigation strategies need to work within this new framework.

Mitigating risk: modern security strategies

The solution: secure remote learning using a layered approach. You need to build a strategy that helps people get connected to the applications that allow them to be productive, but also makes sure that the right security checks are in place. The goal is to enable users to learn or teach from anywhere, staying connected and secure.

The key: think of the layers connecting users to applications:

  • Devices – sanctioned for use (managed or BYOD with managed apps)
  • Users – individual or role authorized to access data
  • Threats – devices free from threats (eg. malware)
  • Policies – compliance with acceptable usage policies and regulations

Managing and securing Apple devices

The three pillars of managing and securing your devices to combat these challenges include:

  • Endpoint protection – secure devices and safeguard user privacy
  • Network security – manage connections outside the perimeter
  • Identity and access management – streamline and secure application access

Capelle notes that because each institution is unique, your needs may vary. While one organization may be satisfied with a management solution, another may need a more sophisticated endpoint protection, and others may require a more robust mobile threat defense package.

For an in-depth discussion of the most effective tools and solutions available to protect your users, apps and devices, check out the full webinar below.

Watch the full webinar to learn more about modernizing your cybersecurity.

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