Password management key to avoiding education cyber attacks
A new report suggests that the best way to avoid cyber attacks in higher education is through a password management tool that promotes better password hygiene.
With professional and personal lives quickly merging, it’s crucial that all faculty, staff and students protect their digital life — especially when accessing an institute’s data, like email and learning apps, from personal devices on and off campus.
LastPass by LogMeIn released the report, which explored solutions and strategies needed to protect critical systems and sensitive data. It was based on an IDG survey of 300 IT professionals employed at higher education institutions.
The IDG survey found that 88% of institutions suffered an IT security infringement because of poor password management this year alone. Four in 10 respondents reported difficulty keeping up with cyber attacks, and 32% were stymied by the task of protecting every entry point and device accessing the institution's data and applications.
A password manager can help solve these problems. Password management involves storing, securing, and managing credentials by following best practices including saving passwords in an encrypted, digital vault and never reusing a password to prevent unauthorised access to an organisation’s data. When selecting a password manager for a higher education institution, the top needs to consider are:
- Ease of use and convenient password storage: the survey showed that 75% of respondents report ease-of-use as a critical feature when evaluating a vendor’s solution. Users should be able to generate unique passwords, easily save and fill credentials, and rely on secure and flexible sharing for collaborative teams, from IT to the marketing department, even those external to the institution such as students and alumni, all while maintaining accountability.
- Greater control of employee-student hybrid environments: 27% of respondents want integrations with an existing environment. Using an intuitive and centralised administration console, a password management solution can provide IT leaders with greater insight into their working environment and more access control — without a heavy lift. For example, by integrating with an existing user directory and revoking user access in real time, IT teams can ensure critical data doesn’t depart each semester along with migrating staff and students.
- Custom packaging to meet varying needs: 25% of respondents want group management, and by offering highly customisable packages, the right solution can accommodate a wide array of IT needs, including secure password management for IT teams and collaborative staff departments.
- Personal accounts and accessibility for all: according to respondents, 24% want secure accessibility from any browser and device. To better serve today’s diverse study body, the right password management solution should be able to offer private vault functionality for personal credentials, plus keyboard navigation, updated proper colour contrast, and readability for accessible use for everyone on campus. The solution should also include added regions and language tags to allow users to navigate with screen readers and keyboards.
“Password management solutions can complement institutional policies and identity management practices by improving user convenience, reducing the risks of password reuse and password sharing, and enhance the administration of account terminations and forgotten passwords,” said Kim Milford, Executive Director, The Research and Education Networks Information Sharing and Analysis Center.
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