As higher education benefits from technological advances, it also makes institutions much more attractive targets for hackers and data thieves. Colleges and universities have huge amounts of personal, academic, and even financial data to protect, and such a task should not be taken lightly. Here are some key strategies for improving data protection for college campuses.
- Figure Out Which Areas Need Protection
To ensure that all of the personally identifiable information in your systems is secure, you need to know where it is first. Most universities keep their information in unstructured data – information that hasn’t been organized in a pre-defined manner. Finding all of this information can be a huge task for campus IT departments, but recent innovations in artificial intelligence might make it easier than you think.
- Be Aware of Who Has Access to This Information (and How)
After you’ve managed to find all of this sensitive information, you need to know who can access it, and how they’re doing it. This is crucial to understanding and mitigating potential risks. Tracing who has access to your databases is relatively simple, but it’s still vital to creating a digital security plan for your campus. Figuring out who has access to your unstructured data is much more difficult, but again, recent innovations in AI assistants for these tasks can make it much easier for your IT department.
- Mitigate Risks
Now that you know where sensitive information is and who can access it, you can develop effective protection strategies to ensure that this personal data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. This can include refactoring your databases, encrypting sensitive fields, deleting information that you don’t need, and exploring technological advances that can identify and patch weak links in your information systems.