How to Prevent College Phishing Attacks with Cybersecurity as a Service

According to Deloitte research, 91% of all cyberattacks start with a phishing email. Hackers impersonate reputable organizations to try to steal sensitive data or login credentials. Once they get inside your network, they can do a lot of damage.

Besides launching malware and ransomware or stealing files, cybercriminals often use college and university systems to gain additional access or launch new attacks. Is your college or university configured to prevent this from happening? Before you answer, consider this study of .edu domains in the U.S., which revealed that less than 8% of higher education institutions have properly implemented and configured security policies to detect, flag, and remove phishing emails.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) conducts assessments for federal partners and critical infrastructure, and the results speak for themselves:

  • 80% of organizations have fallen victim to phishing email attempts
  • 10% of phishing emails led to the execution of a malicious attachment or link
  • 70% of malicious links or files were not blocked by network border protection
  • 15% of malicious attachments or links were not blocked by endpoint protection

So, is your system secure and protected from phishing emails? A higher education cybersecurity service provider can help you keep your data safe.

What Is Cybersecurity as a Service for Education?

Cybersecurity as a service (CSaaS) for education is a subscription model where a managed service provider handles various components or all of your security for your academic institution. Delivered via the cloud, you outsource your cybersecurity to a third-party partner that has the expertise and resources to continuously monitor your network.

CSaaS typically covers a range of cybersecurity, including:

  • Data protection: Securing sensitive data both in transit and stored.
  • Access control: Guarding system access and protecting user credentials.
  • Threat prevention: Blocking harmful traffic and stopping attacker intrusion attempts.
  • Cloud security: Extending protections to cloud environments, including multi-cloud.
  • Detection and response: Detecting threats early and responding quickly to neutralize them.
  • Endpoint security: Safeguarding devices outside the network perimeter, including those of remote workers.

What Are the Benefits of Cybersecurity as a Service for Education?

A higher education cybersecurity service provider offers highly trained cybersecurity experts who are up to date on the latest phishing trends and tactics, maintaining vigilance in light of emerging attacks. This expertise makes sure all of your systems and software are protected and monitored to find, isolate, and eliminate phishing threats.

Because CSaaS is delivered as a cloud service, there is no additional cost for hardware or maintenance. Your higher education cybersecurity service provider takes care of both. You also do not need to have dedicated phishing email specialists on your IT staff or invest in expensive security infrastructure. Outsourcing your cybersecurity to a managed service provider can significantly lower your costs while improving your cyber maturity.

Another key benefit is scalability. CSaaS solutions scale easily, adapting to the changing needs of your academic institution regardless of the number of applications or users.

Safeguarding Networks and Data

The CISA recommends all organizations take proactive steps to safeguard their networks and reduce the potential threat of phishing, including:

  • Multi-factor authentication: Implement phishing-resistant MFA like hardware tokens or biometrics to secure critical resources and prevent lateral movement even if credentials are compromised.
  • Minimize privileged access: Regularly review and reduce the number of accounts with access to sensitive data and devices. This minimizes the potential damage from compromised accounts.
  • Strict access controls: Restrict administrative password sharing and re-use. Remove non-essential elevated privileges from users to limit opportunities for privilege escalation.
  • Endpoint defense: Fortify the final line of defense by adding endpoint protection on all internet-accessible devices.
  • Security updates: Automate mandatory security updates for browsers, applications, software, and antivirus systems to patch vulnerabilities promptly.
  • Software control: Implement software restriction policies to limit installed programs to those essential for business purposes, further minimizing attack vectors.
  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR): Proactively monitor for and block malicious activity on endpoints with an EDR solution.

Academic institutions should assess and evaluate their security posture on an ongoing basis to look for gaps.

The most effective cybersecurity system is multi-layers, checking authentication and authorization at multiple levels. A higher education cybersecurity service provider can employ, monitor, and manage these layers for you—providing another layer of security for your college or university.

E&I Cooperative Services

When you are looking for a higher education cybersecurity service provider, E&I Cooperative Services can help. As the only member-owned, non-profit purchasing cooperative dedicated exclusively to the education sector, E&I Cooperative Service leverages the bulk buying power of 6,000 members to achieve significant savings. Ready-to-use contracts are available for goods and services from major suppliers.

Learn more about E&I Cooperative Services and view competitively solicited contracts today.

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