October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As an online program manager and partner to universities that offer online degree and certificate programs, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer some important cyber security guidance and reiterate our commitment to maintaining the security of our partners’ data. Here are some essential ways to ensure the safety and security of your online students, faculty, and the endless amounts of data associated with an online program.
Have Robust IT Security Tools and Qualified Personnel
When entrusted with the private data of thousands of students, your institution must have its networks safeguarded by the latest tools and a highly trained information technology services team.
Cyberattackers use sophisticated tools and methods and frequently change their tactics to compromise, damage, hijack, or steal data from university networks. Even with significant safeguards in place, there are always risks, as these institutions and related departments discovered:
-In 2021, the University of Minnesota experienced a database breach that may have exposed personal and other sensitive information of applicants, students, and employees dating back as far as 1989.
-Michigan State University was part of a worldwide ransomware attack that may have revealed the private data of up to 30 million people in the United States alone.
-Grand Valley State University students may have had their personal data compromised when a third-party vendor sustained a data breach.
-The Minnesota Department of Education suffered a possible vulnerability in a file transfer software that may have disclosed details about 95,000 students in the state foster care system.
In these cases and countless others, institutions had put considerable cyber security resources into place to little avail, underscoring the importance of continuous vigilance on the cyber security front. Always implement firewalls and other intrusion detection tools, multifactor authentication, data encryption, activity logging, data backup and recovery, and other cyber security best practices for your own institution.
Use a Secure Learning Management System
Educational institutions deliver their online programs to students via a learning management system, or LMS. You must take the security features and potential vulnerabilities of these internet-connected systems into consideration when choosing an LMS for your institution. While Apollidon does not endorse any specific LMS, our experience has shown that Blackboard and Canvas are some of the most popular systems in use today and like all such systems have their own security protocols. Respected business sources including U.S. News & World Report and Forbes have published their own picks for the best LMS options of 2023.
Choose an Online Program Manager That Maintains High Security Standards
If you’re moving your programs online, the safest way to do so is with a proven partner like Apollidon Learning. In addition to the years of marketing, branding, and student outreach and engagement experience we bring to the table, we adhere to the highest cyber security standards to keep your institution, its employees, and its students protected. This includes using discrete encryption technologies for storing data and transmitting data across network boundaries and maintaining a robust disaster recovery plan for our hosting platform. We also comply with FERPA, HIPAA, ADA/WCAG2.0, and all regulations and guidelines covering online providers, as well as all federal, state, and university laws and policies.
Let’s talk about what Apollidon can do for your institution. Contact us now and we’ll tailor a secure online learning services package to your specifications.