Data security: 8 companies that want schools to embrace the cloud
From K-12 to higher ed, more and more educational institutions are taking their data to the cloud. With all of that information floating around in cyberspace, security is more important than ever. So who do you trust to keep it all locked down?
Several companies offer solutions to secure student, research and other data, both in the cloud and on-site. We've compiled a list of 8 leading names securing campus information today.
1. SYMANTEC CORPORATION
The company behind Norton Antivirus provides data security solutions at all levels of education, from elementary to higher ed. Their most-recognizable product among average higher ed professionals may be the free anti-virus software made available to students and faculty by many university IT departments. Its education services, however, range from protecting data on laptops, mobile devices and desktops to providing network access control and storage options, as well as securing things like distance learning.
With Google Apps for Education, the Silicon Valley tech giant includes a number of data security features to ensure that faculty and students can use the cloud-based suite of apps safely. Google backs up information and leaves it in the user's control, its data centers are built specifically for its apps and reduce the potential for vulnerabilities by not involving additional hardware or software, and two-factor authentication and automatic encryption further help protect teacher and student data. According to University of Sheffield CIO Dr. Christine Sexton, Google goes so far as to utilize biometrics including retinal scanning and thermographics for access control in their data centers, among other measures.
3. CDW GOVERNMENT
You might recognize CDW-G's name from a series of ads featuring retired NBA player Charles Barkley. Though the company has "government" prominently in its name, the industries it serves extend beyond just state and federal agencies. In higher education, it offers assistance with classroom technologies, consolidation of data centers, streamlining of IT purchases and establishment of wireless access. On the K-12 front, CDW-G can assist with classroom technology, internal network installation, and data center implementation and installation. Naturally, these solutions handle a significant amount of data, and CDW-G won't leave your institution hanging on that front, either. Data is backed up and securely stored in the institution's data center, which also facilitates disaster recovery, should such a situation arise.
Maker of the widely used collaboration platform GroupWise, Novell works to meet the needs of campus populations demanding anytime, anywhere access to applications, tools and data in an environment that continues to grow more complex despite budget constraints. One of its most popular education tools, Novell Storage Manager, addresses data security needs presented by that demand through the use of automated data governance, and the ability to control data growth and assign access based on user roles.
A cloud-based content-sharing and collaboration platform, Box also specializes in data security. This is an important detail for a company that makes possible things like professors working together on research papers with colleagues at other schools. Content in Box's cloud is protected by what the company says is "industry-leading" security, while monitoring, search and reporting features let IT keep tabs on who is storing and sharing data. Other security features: Single sign-on, Active Directory and group management.
According to data security firm CloudLock, Google Apps institutions still face the same data governance and compliance challenges they would if their data were still on-site. CloudLock offers to ensure the security of that data for Google Apps customers. Case studies on the company's site detail how it has done so for Austin Community College, Boise State University, the Academy of Contemporary Music, California State University at Monterey Bay and The College Network. It also offers the same services for the K-12 market.
Like other companies on this list, OpenDNS offers its services to a variety of industries. Its Umbrella product offers network protection from such threats as malware, as well as network breaches and data theft by bots and phishers, OpenDNS' Umbrella also boasts the world's largest Internet security network, with 50+ billion DNS requests handled each day. It also allows for category-based filtering and the creation of blacklists and whitelists, making management of the online experience that much easier.
NetApp offers scalable data storage solutions, allowing IT to cut costs in half by reducing data storage by as much as 80%. Built-in encryption, authentication, access control and logging capabilities secure research and student data, which can be backed up in minutes and recovered just as quickly, from unauthorized access.
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