Multi-Factor Authentication Adds Layers of Protection for Campus Data

Increasingly, sophisticated cyberattacks require campuses to re-examine security measures that no longer make sense. Protecting data is a top priority for university CIOs, and as the attacks evolve, the layers of protection cannot be static, but must be dynamic, changing with circumstances.

by / October 22, 2017 0

As Cybersecurity Awareness month draws to a close for 2017, it is important to take at least one more opportunity to think through the data security both needed and already implemented across your campus.

Breaches are a dime a dozen these days. If you’ve ever called a bank after you see a fraudulent charge on your credit card, you will find that the employee on the other end of the phone call isn’t surprised by the charge that stopped your heart when it was first identified. Banks have incredible protective measures in place for fraudulent situations. Higher education is not exempt from fraudulent activity, which is why multiple security measures must be put into place to ensure that the incredible amounts of data gathered on a campus each and every day are kept under virtual lock and key.

There are multiple ways to ensure that every kind of data (financial, student, personal identifying information, etc.) are kept safe. Recently, we learned that a major breach could have been avoided if only the newest security patch was updated when it was ready (two months prior to the breach). With so many opportunities for hacks, and the vast number of users logging on to your networks, it is a best practice to evaluate continually the data security measures currently implemented on campus.

According to a 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigative Report, 81 percent of data breaches involved weak or stolen credentials. This is why adaptive security, security without compromise and integration with the entire organization is imperative.

Adaptive security means stepping up security when and where you need it, as circumstances change. This can be done through compromised password protection, dynamic IP blacklisting, proxy detection, protection against brute-force and denial-of-service attacks, device trust and anomaly detection.

Security without compromise doesn’t have to be complex for users or admins. Comprehensive factors allow users to pick the security indicators that make the most sense for them. Using a multi-factor authentication process creates added layers for protection. These factors can include user-friendly native factors, support for biometrics-based factors from other accounts (such as Windows Hello and Apple Touch ID) and third party factor support.

Finally, the data security program should include integration with the entire organization. Interoperability is constantly evaluated as universities pick the systems that are right for them. A data security system or program is no exception. Whether your data is stored in the cloud or on premise, the system should protect all data.

As hacking and breaches become an everyday occurrence, your security software and providers must keep up with more and more sophisticated attacks. As campus IT leaders, you must consider the best way to keep the valuable data entrusted to you safe- which includes multi-factor authentication.

 

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Susan Gentz Contributing Writer
Susan is passionate about transforming education for every student and works on content for the Center for Digital Education. She loves policy, running and biking, and is a proud Iowa native.