Since the industrial revolution, one ongoing collaboration has been the cause of countless significant discoveries, scientific breakthroughs and dramatic advancements in the medical field. For over a century, universities and professionals in various industries have been combining their efforts in both independent and government-sponsored projects in order to bring together their knowledge and expertise to make dramatic discoveries that no one could make on their own.
In 2016 that tradition is as present as ever, particularly as universities struggle with tight budgets and lean funds. Partnerships with large corporations and cutting-edge private organizations allows universities to complete critical research and undergo state-of-the-art projects that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
On the flip side, these private companies are gifted with the brightest minds that these respected universities have to offer in order to help further their work. It’s a powerful symbiotic relationship that’s been an effective tool for the advancement of several industries, particularly those of science, technology and health. However, while this collaboration has been ongoing for decades, the rise of the modern era of technology and cloud-based computing has introduced a new potential danger to the effectiveness of this powerful team— the constant threat of cyber attacks and data theft.
Cyber Theft in Universities
While attacks to private enterprises like Sony and Target garner the most attention from the media and the public, a dive into the history of data breaches at universities is shocking in and of itself. In 2014 alone there were 30 data breaches at educational institutions, five of which were larger than the enormous attack on Sony.
Most of these attacks are geared toward stealing one of two areas of data— personal information of faculty and students used to perpetuate identity theft, and critical, classified research into scientific industries and pharmaceuticals.
Why are universities such targets? There are two sides to this story— the first is that hackers know that universities, particularly those that collaborate with powerful private companies, can be housing cutting-edge information that could command a high price to buyers on the black market.
The second explanation is the very nature of educational institutions themselves. Built to be places where information and data can flow freely from instructors to students, many universities don’t implement proper security on the digital documents that they keep due to the mistaken idea that it’s counter to their mission. However, each and every university, regardless of whether it works with private industries or not, can benefit from greater digital security.
The Solution: Document Management Systems
In order to protect the sensitive information they deal in and send each and every day, universities should strongly consider the implementation of a document management system. These advanced cloud-based solutions offer a highly organized, robust online database where they can safely and securely store, edit and share documents and files. Here are some of the features of an effective DMS that can help keep your university’s information safe:
DMS software like eFileCabinet’s SecureDrawer comes built-in with multiple layers of advanced encryption built to protect even the most sensitive and high-value information from unauthorized access. Designed to stand up to even the most advanced hacking methods and attempts, eFileCabinet software is a leading choice for users and organizations who deal with confidential documents on a daily basis.
User-by-User Authorization Levels
eFileCabinet also offers the functionality to limit the access of any individual user or group of users. You may want some users to be able to view files but not send or edit them, while others might be granted access to edit and send files based on their level of authority. This way, you can ensure that only those who need access to files are able to access those files, narrowing down the field of potential breaches than can occur due either to carelessness or malicious intent.
Digital Paper Trails
With eFileCabinet, you can track who accesses a document, when they accessed that document, and what changes they might have made. You can also access past versions of any given document if unauthorized changes are made that introduce inaccuracies. An example of where this tool might come into play is in the event of a student-initiated hack meant to alter grades.
With a robust DMS like eFileCabinet, the hard-earned and potentially lifesaving results of your collaborations with private enterprises are safe from the moment they’re uploaded to the day they’re sent from one user to the next for the hundredth time. Additionally, all of the private information contained pertaining to your employees and students will be kept safe not only from breaches but also from unexpected disasters like data loss or destruction of physical data centers.
To find out more about how eFileCabinet can make your university more secure, fill out the form on this page to receive a free 15-minute