Jun 25 2019

Strategies for Endpoint Protection on Higher Education Campuses

Preemptive threat detection, backup systems and education can improve network security on campuses where the number of endpoints is rapidly expanding.

With the education sector named the least protected among 17 industries at the end of 2018, universities are working to improve their security strategies. 

Among the issues in higher education, experts have identified endpoint protection as a major problem that must be considered when constructing a modern cybersecurity plan. 

The continuing trend of personal devices on campus is one reason why this is so important. 

“As 1:1 and BYOD programs continue to grow, endpoint security has become increasingly important,” writes Carly Botelho, marketing campaigns manager for Cisco Meraki. 

A proper endpoint protection solution can keep students and faculty from “downloading unknown applications by using content filtering, group policies and advanced malware protection,” she notes.


Move Security Closer to the Source for Increased Visibility

Digital transformation in higher education has forced data structures to be more free-flowing, surfacing new issues for IT leaders on how to approach data security, according to Bob Stevens, vice president of federal sales for Lookout

“With data now being fluid and accessible, there is no ‘there’ anymore when it comes to where educational data lives,” Stevens writes. “Rather than stashing endpoints behind traditional perimeter security, security itself must move to the endpoint. It doesn’t make sense to put guards in front of your castle when the castle walls don’t exist anymore. Security needs to be everywhere that the data lives and is accessed.”

Universities can improve their security measures by expanding IT visibility across endpoints. New security tools that employ artificial intelligence can help universities monitor when and where their networks are accessed and look for suspicious behavior, according to the latest edition of “The Cybersecurity Insight Report” by CDW.

“Because they use artificial intelligence and analytics to assess communication within each network and between separate networks, they provide organizations unprecedented visibility into how and why hosts are communicating,” reads the report.

3 Key Elements of Endpoint Protection Planning

When designing endpoint protection security protocols, CDW identifies three important factors all universities should consider:

  1. Threat Hunting: Hackers can move incredibly quickly once they are within a network, which means traditional security tools that were built to respond to threats after detection are no longer viable solutions. “Next-gen technology takes an automated, proactive approach, constantly scanning networks to detect threats well before they become full breaches,” according to the insight report. 
  2. Detection Response: Detection response is an important part of any defense strategy. Even the most robust security model will experience a breach, so planning for this inevitability is crucial. Technology solutions such as cloud backup software, as well as an updated incident response plan, can help.

  3. User Education: Educated users are the first line of defense against network breaches. Faculty, staff and students should be aware of how to avoid making common security mistakes and what the consequences of those mistakes are. “Even with network segmentation, next-gen endpoint solutions, and ongoing security assessments in place, all the high-tech, expensive equipment in the world can only do so much if employees with access to sensitive information aren’t prepared to recognize threats,” reads CDW’s insight report.

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