1. Find the Best Channels to Share Cybersecurity Messaging
To keep students informed and updated about issues, EDUCAUSE recommends creating “campus-based information security awareness campaigns.” This means helping students learn what they can do as individuals to keep their devices safe.
As effective messaging channels, colleges might consider video and in-person learning opportunities. Corey Seemiller, a researcher and author of Generation Z Goes to College, notes that 90 percent of Gen Z students seek new information primarily on YouTube, and, contrary to what many might imagine, in-person communication remains overwhelmingly popular.
“Although it may seem that those in Generation Z have their heads buried in their phones texting their friends, we found that in-person communication is actually the No. 1 communication preference for Generation Z,” says Seemiller of her research.
2. Increase Transparency About Campus Threats and Risks
Verizon’s “2020 Data Breach Investigations Report” gives educational institutions a failing grade when it comes to reporting phishing incidents. Only a quarter of education organizations reported any phishing activity at all, and just 50 percent reported seeing any of the major phishing campaigns that hit other industries.
Increasing transparency helps on several levels. First, if users know they may be targeted by a certain phishing scam, they’re more likely to avoid it and even to report an attempted attack. As students become more accustomed to reporting attempts, they may alert the security organization of new scams, helping to mitigate threats before they infiltrate the entire organization.
3. Ask for Students’ Input About Cybersecurity Needs
At The Ohio State University, Patton recognizes that most people simply don’t think about device security. For that reason, she and her team created Cybersecurity for You, a platform that invites users to ask questions about keeping their devices and information safe. That way, students may be more invested in their own security.
“We’ve now got a way for people to give input into what they want to know,” she says in a video about the future of cybersecurity at OSU. “It’s definitely innovative in higher ed, and in other industries as well. This is a real game changer for us.”