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Community Colleges Navigate Evolving Cybersecurity Landscape in 2024

Posted by Aaron R. Warner on Apr 8, 2024 9:00:00 AM
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While essential functions of community colleges remain constant, the ever-changing digital landscape presents unique cybersecurity challenges. From talent retention to securing a diversifying data landscape, colleges must adapt their strategies to keep pace.


Risks for Community Colleges


Here are some of the greater risks unique to our Community College clients:


1. The Talent Conundrum
Although competitive salaries remain an obstacle, the gap between traditional IT and cybersecurity expertise is narrowing. Cross-training existing staff with industry certifications and partnering with managed security service providers (MSSPs) are effective strategies until in-house expertise expands.

2. Securing Evolving Data
Educational institutions now manage sensitive academic data within learning management systems (LMS) alongside student and staff information. Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for LMS access, regularly updating software, and conducting penetration testing is crucial to mitigate risks in this evolving realm. Changing grades is on most kid's minds, and with more access to hacking tools than ever before, your LMS has become a target.

3. The BYOD and IoT Challenge
The proliferation of connected devices on campus, from personal laptops to smart gadgets, necessitates robust security measures. Encouraging device registration, enforcing strong password protocols, and deploying endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions are essential to combat this ever-growing threat.

4. Securing Complex Labs
Modern computer labs often intertwine personal and college-owned devices, demanding stricter access controls to limit unauthorized access to sensitive systems. Educating users on safe browsing practices and enforcing strong device security settings further bolsters security within these dynamic environments.

5. Engaging a Mobile Student Body
While student engagement in security measures remains crucial, adopting user-friendly approaches is key. Delivering accessible training materials through various channels and encouraging good cyber hygiene practices like using strong passwords and reporting suspicious activity are effective strategies to reach this evolving population.

6. Building a Secure Foundation
Regularly conducting security awareness training for all stakeholders, implementing a layered security approach (firewalls, intrusion detection systems, data encryption), developing a comprehensive incident response plan, consistently backing up critical data, and staying informed about emerging threats are fundamental practices in building a solid cybersecurity foundation.

Additional Tips
Utilizing cloud-based security solutions, partnering with other educational institutions, and considering cyber insurance offer further avenues for strengthening your college's cybersecurity posture.

Contact ProCircular

ProCircular offers a range of cybersecurity services tailored to community colleges, including vulnerability assessments, security awareness training, and incident response planning. Contact us to learn more and collaborate on building a more secure future for your campus community.


Topics: Cybersecurity, Data Breach, Data Security, vulerability assessment, hacking, community colleges

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