How to Prepare for a Cybersecurity Audit

Cybercrime is up 600 percent since the start of the pandemic, and higher education institutions are especially at risk. In fact, 74 percent of universities have had to stop valuable research projects due to cyberattacks, 43 percent have had student data leaked and 87 percent have experienced at least one successful cyberattack.

Cybersecurity is necessary for schools to stay protected. That’s why, as states continue to realize the risk of cyberattacks pose to students and staff, California is providing its community colleges with an additional $100 million in cybersecurity funding this year. To ensure that your school’s cybersecurity is up to standards, cybersecurity audits are essential.

The Purpose of a Cybersecurity Audit

In higher education, cybersecurity audits identify where an institution is most vulnerable. When it comes to cybersecurity, there’s no such thing as “good enough.” Schools are dealing with research data and the personal data of students and faculty, so cyber protection is paramount. By identifying the strong and weak points of a school’s cybersecurity infrastructure, along with ensuring that security measures follow state guidelines and requirements, cybersecurity audits can provide peace of mind and a recipe for security improvements.

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Cybersecurity audits serve as an external assessment of how well your policies, procedures and network are providing a safe environment for your users. This evaluation is essential. The more cyber users you have, the more you’re at risk.

How Universities Can Best Prepare

To best prepare for a cybersecurity audit, institutions must understand the current state of their security infrastructure. Understanding not just what software is being used but why it’s being used allows institutions to self-audit in advance of a formal audit and upgrade their security accordingly.

One security framework that helps schools stay prepared is the zero-trust security model. As the name implies, this model operates under the notion that implied trust of internal or external frameworks is a vulnerability, and that it’s safest to operate without trusting any of them. Zero trust works. Even when cyberattacks are successful, a zero-trust approach reduces the average cost of a breach by $1.76 million.

LEARN MORE: A proactive approach to avoiding zero-day attacks in higher education.

CDW•G can consult on and enact zero-trust security and other cybersecurity measures to help prepare universities for cybersecurity audits — which CDW•G also fulfills. A one-stop shop for cybersecurity, CDW•G is uniquely suited to help make your school’s cybersecurity as tight as possible.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

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