Audit your digital footprint
Data breaches are nothing new – in fact, the rate of attacks has swelled in recent years, with over 14.5 billion data breaches recorded since 2013. What makes that figure so surprising is that only 4% of the breaches were considered ‘secure’, meaning encryption was used.
Despite the news being littered with high-profile breaches of organizations like the UK’s National Health Service and the US’s Equifax, smaller entities are just as at risk, and it raises serious concerns about the security of schools and universities in particular.
In 2018, the University of Greenwich was breached, with 19,500 students’ personal data posted online – and these incidents are being more common around the world. What makes it even more concerning for the Middle East is that region has the second-most expensive breaches globally, averaging $5.1 million.
So how can schools and universities in the Middle East address this growing threat – especially as figures from InfoWatch reveal attacks on Middle East entities are primarily interested in “national strategic plans, know-how and university test papers”?
Even the smallest step forward is a good start, and that could involve something as simple as a digital audit. The first question they should ask is whether their digital service provider is both locally based and engineers its equipment with security front-of-mind. Beyond that, the audit can involve questions such as:
- Is there a school/university staff member who is in charge of managing privacy and potential data breaches?
- Are staff aware of what ‘personal information’ entails – i.e. do they understand the region’s privacy laws?
- Does the school/university deploy regular training about data security?