Educational institutions are meant to be sanctuaries of knowledge, fostering growth and nurturing young minds. However, the reality is that they have become prime targets for cybercriminals seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in their digital infrastructure. It is absolutely disheartening to witness the trust placed in these institutions shattered when the sensitive personal information of students, parents, and staff falls into the wrong hands.


As technological advancements continue to transform the way we learn and teach, educational institutions find themselves grappling with the mounting challenges of safeguarding sensitive information from cyber threats. After healthcare and financial sectors, educational institutions are the third most popular target of hackers because of their data, which includes not just student grades but also employee and student Social Security numbers, employee bank account numbers, and other personally identifiable information.



The Growing Risk of Data Breaches


Did you know? Attacks are happening more frequently, and the losses are getting worse. Data breaches in the education industry more than doubled in the first half of 2017. All levels of schools have experienced attacks. Now, this is very alarming considering the fact that as time passes, hackers are getting more and more creative with their attacks. 



The Cost of Data Breaches


Costs associated with data breaches are serious for schools. According to a research by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is $141 per record, but in the education industry, that cost often rises to $200 per record (and has even gone higher, with the four-year price averaging $260).


The size of a data breach, the time it takes to find and stop it, and the costs associated with warning victims and settling lawsuits all affect how much it will ultimately cost. The education industry, in contrast to other companies, rarely encounters the hidden costs associated with unexpected client loss following a data breach.



Challenges in Education Data Breach Prevention


About a quarter of the breaches encountered by educational institutions disclosed intellectual property, while the majority exposed personal information about students and employees. To protect its data, the educational environment faces a number of particular difficulties. For instance:


  • The free exchange of information is the foundation of the industry.
  • It’s possible that faculty and staff lack technical expertise and are technologically illiterate.
  • Technically savvy students are encouraged to try out hacking exploits for fun.
  • In a district, systems are spread out throughout several schools.
  • A centralized program for handling student and employee identities is frequently absent from school systems.
  • Within a school system, users usually play several roles, which makes identity management challenging.
  • The number of users changes significantly each year as a result of students graduating and new students joining.
  • Parents and students must use their personal laptops and smartphones to access the systems remotely.



Reducing Data Breaches


To tackle the rising data breaches, educational institutions must adopt proactive measures and prioritize data security. Here are some strategies to overcome these challenges:


Strengthening Network Security

Educational institutions must invest in robust network security systems that include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption protocols. Regular security audits and vulnerability assessments should be conducted to identify and patch potential weaknesses.


Implementing Effective Access Controls

Institutions should establish stringent access controls that limit data access to authorized personnel only. Multi-factor authentication and role-based access should be employed to minimize the risk of unauthorized access.


Educating Staff and Students

Comprehensive training programs should be implemented to educate staff and students about data security best practices. This includes raising awareness about phishing attacks, password hygiene, and the importance of reporting suspicious activities promptly.


Regular Data Backups

Frequent backups of critical data should be performed to ensure that information can be recovered in the event of a breach. These backups should be stored securely and tested regularly to verify their integrity.


Collaboration and Information Sharing

Educational institutions should collaborate with industry experts, cybersecurity organizations, and other institutions to share information and stay updated on emerging threats and best practices. By working together, the education industry can collectively fortify its defenses against data breaches.



We know, the frustrating rise of data breaches in the education industry poses a significant threat to your students’ privacy and the overall trust placed in educational institutions. By acknowledging the gravity of this issue and implementing comprehensive security measures, you can begin to mitigate these risks. The cost of data breaches is not only financial but also emotional, impacting the well-being of those affected. 


With Intelecis, we will strive to safeguard your educational spaces and protect the sensitive information that holds immense value to both your staff and your students. It’s unfair for hackers to target institutions such as yours, that’s why, our goal is to give you that peace of mind that your most valuable data will be secure. Contact us today, to get started in preventing your data from getting in the hands of hackers. Together, we can create a safer and more secure future for your students.