Education Sector Hit Hard by Insider Threats in 2016
Education Sector Hit Hard by Insider Threats in 2016

The education sector represents the industry with the largest percentage growth in data breaches — up 70 percent over 2015 figures.

Although the education sector represents 11.5% of data breaches in 2016 (behind business and healthcare in terms of most heavily hit industries) in the overall growth of data breaches across all sectors, this represents quite a large jump.

There have been 56 data breaches in the education sector, affecting over 366,196 records. | The 2016 ITRC Breach Report

Who in the Education Sector is to Blame?

Many of the breaches affecting the educational sector involve the Insider Threat, where insiders are inadvertently, maliciously, or unknowingly putting data at risk. Employees can often be tricked into opening illegitimate emails and visiting malicious websites, or falling victim to phishing scams. What is more common, however, is employees storing sensitive data on insecure personal devices or cloud storage, and then being careless with those devices. In some cases, the data on these devices can fall into the wrong hands and/or the employees’ credentials can be compromised. In any event, most breaches can be tied back to human error.

Educate Your Employees About:

  • Falling for phishing emails
  • Storing sensitive files on insecure personal devices or cloud storage
  • Leaving devices at risk in cars
  • Mistakenly granting access to files
  • Compromising credentials

The list goes on, but most of the breaches can be tied back to the actions of people.

According to our own study, many employees put data at risk in small, but ultimately significant ways, such as:

  • Modifying default settings
  • Accessing personal email
  • Online banking / shopping
  • Social media
  • Public Wi-Fi
  • File sharing

Careless mistakes are bound to happen, however, there are steps you can take to mitigate the insider threat. 

With Endpoint Data Discovery (EDD), as part of Absolute DDS, you can define what data is important to you, and track it — at all times, on or off the network, and regardless of user. If data is somewhere it shouldn’t be, you can take pre-emptive action to remotely delete it. If a device is at risk (lost, outside a specified geographic zone, or triggers a certain risk profile), you can assess and respond appropriately to each security incident.

Absolute For the Education Sector

In the education sector, a security incident has the potential to not only breach data, but impact the safety of students. This is why it is crucial to maintain control over your data. Absolute gives you the confidence to enable a digital learning environment while protecting your students and securing your technology investment.

Learn more about Absolute’s endpoint and data security solutions for K-12 schools, colleges and universities.