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Most Ed Institutions Unprepared for Data Risks

Nearly four in five, 77 percent, of education institutions are unprepared for IT risks, according to a new survey from Netwrix.

Respondents told researchers that employees are the biggest threat to system availability and security at the same rate, 77 percent and 79 percent said that they do not use any software for information security or risk management.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • 72 percent of responding institutions reported that they don't have a dedicated employee responsible for IT security;
  • 49 percent of responding institutions said they had experienced security incidents as a result of human behavior, and 37 percent reported incidents resulting from malware;
  • Lack of budget was the most frequently cited reason for not taking a more efficient approach to security, at 74 percent, while lack of time and insufficient participation from senior management were cited by 54 percent and 44 percent of respondents, respectively;
  • The most protected areas, according to respondents, were endpoint (82 percent), on-premises systems (79 percent) and virtual infrastructure (73 percent);
  • The most neglected areas were BYOD (49 percent), unstructured data stored by a third party (33 percent) and employee activity (17 percent);
  • 54 percent of respondents said that downtime was the result of accidental or incorrect user activity;
  • More than a third, 35 percent, of respondents said they had compliance issues in 2016; and
  • Prevention of data breaches and fraud were the most commonly cited focus of future investments, at 49 percent each, followed by intellectual property theft, at 23 percent.

"Typically, IT departments in the educational sector are understaffed and under-budgeted," said Michael Fimin, CEO and co-founder of Netwrix, in a prepared statement. "Nevertheless, they have to support hundreds of users and meet tightening requirements for data protection. To successfully secure sensitive data and maximize system uptime, educational institutions need to gain visibility into user activity across the entire IT infrastructure. Knowing who does what in which system, who has which permissions, who accesses what files and so on will cost-efficiently facilitate security, compliance and operational tasks, as well as simplify dealing with IT incidents."

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About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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