Universities Go to School on Computer Security

September 28, 2013 | By Kevin Judge
Computer Security
Cyber security at a university can be a very different challenge than in a corporate environment. With an ongoing wave of cyber attacks, it is past time to beef up the Internet security measures on the campus. The dilemma IT Staff at universities face is that universities are designed to be places to impart and share information, not restrict. Collaboration is an important part of the process, but sharing in the digital age creates opportunities for the nefarious.Corporations have been struggling to deal with the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), where employees have demanded using their own computers and mobile devices to connect to the corporate intranet. This is a great security challenge, not to mention a nightmare for support. Gone are the days that the company can announce that they support one and only one platform. Anything goes.The problem is exponentially greater at Universities because you have a population of thousands of students that changes significantly each semester and each year. And students cannot be dictated to like employees. In fact, they are the Universities customers and need to be satisfied.A generation ago, at the dawn of the Internet era, data was highly centralized and early electronic data was almost as static as it was on paper. To support a mobile environment, data, must be accessible, update-able and dynamic.Most important, it must be secure. Personal data is always on the move today, on laptops, smartphones, tablets and similar devices. Data transferred between mobile devices and a University network that is not encrypted is an opportunity for hackers.

A multi-layered approach to security is even more important in this environment than in business. Universities have adopted the multi-layered approach, applying strict security policies combined with firewall, antivirus and intrusion detection software to stop third parties from eavesdropping into these college networks.

Students and the staff need to understand the importance of digital security. This requires training and communication. Considering the high turnover of the student population, it is both a never ending challenge and expensive.

Schools are adapting to the new environment. One change I have seen recently is the use of cloud services. I teach at two colleges and both have implemented remote desktop services. I can login and access applications required for courses, such as Microsoft Project and Oracle Server that would be expensive to purchase and difficult for the schools to support.

Using a shared server makes security easier because they have control over what security systems are installed. In a sense, it is way to re-centralize and regain the control lost because of the distributed environment.

College students are inevitably cash strapped, but Comodo is proud to offer the best and most cost effective security solution with the free edition of Comodo Internet Security. If a University or its students want guaranteed protection, CIS’s subscription and our Endpoint Security are the only antivirus protection that come with a warranty.

You might say that the other security vendors have been schooled!

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    Comments

    Alex Jeter September 28, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    I have been to 3 major universities, undergrad and for my masters.
    They all spent money like drunken sailors, no offense to drunken sailors.
    You would think they could put some money into security.

    Maybe the do, but I know of 3 Data Breaches in just the last few weeks, U of Tampa, Virginia Tech and some school in Michigan

    Reply
      Kevin Judge August 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Alex, all I can say is LOL!

      I have put 2 kids through College and have a 3rd who is a Sophomore and you are so correct.
      Tuition keeps going through the roof and they never stop pleading poverty.

      Reply

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