Enhancing Cybersecurity in Education with Stronger Multicloud Defenses

Chad Davis 缩略图
Chad Davis
Published May 08, 2024

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, consumer-level apps have revolutionized the way students engage with their education institutions. Take, for instance, the University of Central Florida's mobile app, a versatile platform empowering students to manage everything from enrollment and messaging teachers to monitoring assignments and grades—all conveniently accessible from their smartphones. This seamless integration of technology, whether through customer-facing apps or in back-end systems, is propelling the education industry firmly into the modern era.

Yet, behind this facade of convenience lies a formidable challenge for education institution IT professionals. Tasked with meeting the escalating demand for streamlined digital interactions from students, faculty, and staff, they must also navigate the treacherous waters of cybersecurity threats that constantly loom over the digital realm. The stakes couldn't be higher—their efforts directly impact IT costs, the institution's brand, and the overall efficiency of departments.

In this dynamic landscape, including integrating with EdTechs and managing and securing distributed environments, the need for stronger multicloud defenses has become increasingly apparent. Let's delve into why education institution IT leaders must prioritize fortifying their defenses in the face of these pressing challenges.

Addressing the Challenges of Multicloud Networking

At the heart of accomplishing many key education institution IT initiatives lies the integration of contemporary infrastructure, particularly cloud services, which has become pivotal in meeting the modern digital demands of students, faculty, and staff for seamless experiences. The 2024 Educause Top 10 emphasizes the criticality of carrying out this initiative in a cost-effective way in their stated fifth priority, Administrative Cost Reduction. From the Educause webpage, in describing the importance of this priority the author states, “adding the modern infrastructure that digital services demand, like additional clouds, also comes with increased complexity that often can demand extra resources and attention.”

The expansion of cloud services brings more risks than just rising complexity. Losing visibility and having less granular control over the portfolio are also serious concerns to consider. In fact, 9 of 10 organizations report multicloud challenges, including around complexity of tools, troubleshooting procedures, and APIs.

To help address these challenges, education institution technology leaders are turning to new secure multicloud networking services (SMNS). SMNS emerges as a strategic choice to simplify the complexities associated with multicloud management. With better simplification, like an API-first infrastructure solution that can offer a unified interface, institutions gain more control over their entire application stack with solutions that are platform-independent. This also enables policy governance through automation and accelerated fault remediation.

The Significance of Streamlined Security Advancements in the Multicloud Age

The aforementioned 2024 Educause Top 10 lists also lists Cybersecurity as a Core Competency as a top priority. This Educause webpage author emphasizes the importance by stating, “What keeps this topic consistently among the EDUCAUSE Top 10 every year is a continually evolving threat landscape and technological advancements that require institutions to stay proactive, agile, and adaptable in their cybersecurity practices.”

Implementing SMNS confronts these evolving threats directly by simplifying security. It offers centralized management of security policies across distributed environments through an end-to-end, cloud-based approach. For example, when building exclusions, like a specific false positive, it can easily deploy this consistently from a central console. Additionally, it can streamline the consistent use of an API reputation filter. These examples, along with many other similar ones, allow for an improved, detailed focus on application and API security for education institution IT departments, enabling them to meet multicloud security challenges with greater consistency and agility.

Secure Applications in Any Environment with Defense in Depth Security

As multicloud approaches become commonplace and EdTechs are increasingly integrated into the growing IT ecosystems of education institutions, it's essential to adopt a layered security architecture to strengthen defenses and guarantee comprehensive and uniform protection across all environments.

Like having a vertical security framework with complimentary controls such as application layer 7 DDoS, identity management, and web application and API protection. These key elements to defense in depth and are becoming table stakes for modern organizations. Additionally, as detailed above, a crucial aspect of a layered security architecture is the incorporation of consistent security policies across all IT environments and stacks, so they can properly identify and remediate critical threats like the log4j2 vulnerability

With the right SMNS in place, education institution IT departments can more confidently navigate the complexities of distributed environments with greater visibility and streamlined security operations, mitigating the risk of the loss of sensitive data, like student records and financial information. Also, an SMNS that is delivered via a SaaS form factor can significantly improve what IT teams can accomplish in day-to-day operations via a simplified user experience and an always up-to-date solution.

Learn more about the associated challenges with secure multicloud networking here.

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