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Information Technology Services

Cyber Security Challenges Facing Higher Education


by EagleTech Mason Peterman

Information security is quickly becoming the number one issue for IT leaders in higher education. As college campuses continue to adopt new technological systems, they are faced with the challenge of keeping institutional resources, data, and users' data safe. Confronted with evolving technologies, institutions of higher learning are having the balance best business practices with user expectations to ensure that their systems, information, and users are safe from malicious attacks. Below are some major challenges facing institutions of higher learning when it comes to cyber security.


This is an attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or other personal info for malicious reasons. This is done by attackers posing as a trustworthy source through electronic communication such as email. Phishing emails may contain links to websites that are infected with malware aimed at gaining access to personal information. Student emails will often be targeted as the attacker poses as a trusted entity affiliated with the university.

User Education

Cybersecurity awareness often takes a backseat to the busy lives of students and faculty at an institution of higher education. As attackers become more sophisticated it is often difficult for IT leaders to properly educated students and faculty on what to look for when it comes to a cyber attack.

Next-generation Security Technology

With limited resources and the necessity for large scale adoption, it is difficult for universities to implement the newest tools for information security. Attackers are continuing to find different ways into university systems, and new tools are continuing to pop up to combat that. However, it is difficult for universities to catch up with the tools that that cybersecurity industry creates.

Identity and Access Management

Universities deal with the challenge of implementing systems that control who can access the different networks provided for faculty and students. With large networks and thousands of people needing access at any one time, universities can struggle to limit access to those who are allowed on the network and keep attackers out.

Unsecure Personal Devices

Personal devices represent a sizeable threat to IT security at institutions of higher learning. With faculty members and students bringing so many devices on campus and attempting to connect to the network, it is difficult for IT staff to determine whether or not those devices are safe and secure before allowing them on to a university network.