Education Industry at Higher Risk for IT Security Issues Due to Lack of Remote and Hybrid Work Policies
POWAY, Calif., July 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Apricorn, the leading manufacturer of software-free, 256-bit AES XTS hardware-encrypted USB drives, today announced findings for the education sector from the Apricorn 2021 Global IT Security Survey. According to the survey, the education industry has a greater risk for cybersecurity breaches and data loss than other industries due to limited IT security policies related to remote work, as well as a lack of concern about security threats from employees. In fact, 69.4% of respondents say employees at their organizations don’t think of themselves as targets that attackers can use to access data, compared to 37.5% in information technology (IT).
“Educational institutions house a significant amount of personal data about students including health information, social security numbers, and parents’ payment information, all of which is at risk,” said Kurt Markley, U.S. Managing Director, Apricorn. “Student data is a highly sought-after target for identity theft because it can go on undetected, leaving damaging results for children and families. It’s critical that educational institutions reevaluate their security practices regarding remote work. The remote learning of the past year–which expanded third-party app and device use–means organizations have to double-down on data security efforts now and into the fall semester.”
More than 400 respondents completed the survey which compares various industries’ cybersecurity policies in relation to remote and hybrid work. The education industry consistently lags behind other industries like manufacturing, healthcare, financial services and IT when it comes to implementing policies around data security and lost/stolen devices. Notably, only 26% of respondents in education agreed they have lost/stolen device policies in place compared to 55% in IT.
Many education institutions will be returning to in-person instruction in the Fall, however most survey respondents in the education sector (90.77%) stated a hybrid work-option exists. When asked about policies and procedures that have been put in place regarding transporting devices and data, organizations in education demonstrated a trend of allowing employee-choice when it comes to policy adherence. More than half of organizations allow the use of personal USB devices and only 20% require encrypted hardware, compared to an average of 52% for other top industries.
“Utilizing data encryption and developing a culture of security is essential to mitigate cybersecurity risks in education,” added Markley. “The past year has shown us that students’ ability to learn is reliant on technology. With the plethora of third-party apps, virtual learning platforms and other digital tools being used by schools and educational institutions, administrators need to be sure student data is protected and that employees in the industry are educated about IT security risks and how to prevent them.”
The full survey report is available for download at Apricorn.com
Comprising 21 question and answer options and drawing 420 responses, the Apricorn 2021 Global IT Security Survey poll was issued through SurveyMonkey and was conducted over a three-week period from February 22 – March 14, 2021. Nearly 40% of respondents have 16 – 20 years working in IT security, with 25% responsible for making final decisions about IT purchases.
Apricorn provides secure storage innovations to the most prominent companies in the categories of finance, healthcare, education, and government throughout EMEA, North America and Canada. Apricorn products have become the trusted standard for a myriad of data security strategies worldwide. Founded in 1983, numerous award-winning products and patents have been developed under the Apricorn brand as well as for a number of leading computer manufacturers on an OEM basis.