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Insight UK: BYOD and universities for a safe and secure environment

OpinionHigher Education
By Heather McLean | 20 July 2017
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Create DateJuly 20, 2017
Last UpdatedJuly 17, 2017

By Matt Green, client director for education, Insight UK.

It’s no secret that the next major security breach is likely to be just around the corner, with the number of organisations affected is only set to grow. With this on everyone’s minds, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) warned that UK businesses could face up to £122 billion in penalties for data breaches when new EU legislation comes into effect in 2018.

With the consumerisation of mobility, one area that is seeing increased security risks is BYOD programmes within the workplace. Many employees now expect to use their own trusted devices for work, downloading sensitive data and other information onto these devices. Sound safe enough? Well more often than not, these devices have limited – if any – protection, potentially opening employees, the wider organisation and customers up to a potential attack.

Jumping on this bandwagon

But it’s not only businesses that are jumping on this bandwagon. In recent years, a number of universities have been refreshing their networks to offer educators and students improved network access capabilities and flexibility.

However, with the average size of a UK university around 15,000 to 18,000, the likelihood of connecting an infected device to the network becomes significantly more probable. With universities keeping huge volumes of valuable information in the same way as businesses, from addresses to phone numbers to bank card details, their data needs protection.

In recent years, UK organisations have faced increased pressures to invest in safeguarding the wealth of data in their possession. As it’s becoming ever more important for education institutions to take the same steps, permitting a safe and secure BYOD environment for students and educators to work in, here are three things universities should be considering when implementing these initiatives…

Removing malware

Guiding users to make sure everyone is using the same level of protection is paramount

With the continued growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), there must be a collective effort to keep the network free of malware. Whilst a number of universities are providing advice on the specifications machines should adhere to before granting access to the academic network, there are still many university administrations who still need to proactively take steps towards ensuring all members of the network are using up to date apps and platforms, and if possible, provide appropriate software.

Student training

Training and coaching students about the importance of cyber safety is also key. As educators of the citizens of tomorrow, the future business owners and employees, it is vital universities invest time and effort into ensuring students understand the impact their actions online have. After all, viruses and malware are often just one click away.

Wiping data

Removing data from machines that aren’t being used on the network anymore is vital. It is the responsibility of HR personnel to monitor and manage the user database so data is stripped from devices of anyone that has left the institution. Failing to do so could leave the door open for cyber attacks, and could ultimately compromise the network.

Insight UK is a provider of computer hardware, software, cloud solutions and IT services to business and the public sector clients.


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