- The average cost for data breaches in the U.S. education industry has risen to $245 per capita (or per record lost), which is $45 above the worldwide average, according to a new study from the Ponemon Institute.
- The report found that two trends in technology use within K-12 and higher education institutions tacked on expenses: the increasing use of mobile platforms, which created an additional cost of $6.50 per capita, and compliance failures, which added $19.30 per capita for data breaches, Campus Technology reports.
- Significantly, the report finds that the high costs are in large part due to the fact that, in education, it takes much longer to find and contain data breaches, with a worldwide average of 221 days for the first part of containing the breach, and another 83 days after to fully deal with it. In comparison, the financial sector usually takes around 155 days.
As education stakeholders across the spectrum consider ways of cutting costs, looking toward data security is one of the more obvious and simpler steps to take. As more colleges and universities adopt online education and move toward technology-heavy campuses, it's imperative that CIOs work not only with students, but also with faculty to ensure that they understand the importance of protecting their sensitive data. At the same time, it's important for higher ed leaders to take steps to update their infrastructure for data handling to ensure that the reputational and financial consequences of a potential data breach are mitigated and handled swiftly. An example of this comes from recent data theft at Washington State University, which had to send a letter to one million people explaining that their personal information had been stolen from a hard drive in a safe.
And at the K-12 level, where schools are now moving rapidly toward 1:1 technology adoption and modern computer systems for handling student data, it is important that administrators look toward their higher ed counterparts in order to learn the best ways of preventing a data breach. The model for cybersecurity in K12 schools is both new and increasingly necessary to develop, and leaders must be aware that their students, who are more tech-savvy than previous generations, will demand from CIOs and other IT decision-makers more emphasis on security. And for these stakeholders, preventing a data breach just makes economic sense in the long run.
Some key ways of being proactive about cybersecurity across all levels of education include training programs for faculty and students on the importance of developing strong passwords and recognizing illegitimate sites, cultivating a fast response system to any potential sign of a data breach, putting in place measures for two-factor authentification, and updating infrastructure so that an operating third party handling the storage of data can step in quickly and prevent excessive damage.