Data security

How Australian Educational Institutions Can Improve Data Security

We’ve all heard about the terrifying cases of data breaches. Financial losses, harm to business operations, reputational damage, legal consequences – these are the top after-effects of unprotected user data. Sadly, just like healthcare and financial services, the education sector is equally at risk. In fact, learning institutions were listed as the top third target for hacking attacks.

Why is the education sphere so attractive to hackers? Modern academic institutions handle loads of financial and personal data that can easily be misused. This includes students’ grades, employee bank accounts, social security numbers and more. Fortunately, EdTech companies with local data centers can help secure this data.

Data privacy challenges in Australian education

Technology in education broadens the horizon for students and teachers, Ivy League colleges and local schools in New South Wales. Understandably, along with new opportunities, technology also brings new hazards of securing information. Education is continuously prone to data breaches, and here’s why:

  • Lack of security hygiene among students and employees
  • Inadequate technical skills of the staff members
  • Lack of reliable security protocols and measures aimed at preventing data breaches
  • Remote access from multiple devices, including home desktop computers and smartphones
  • A mess with user roles (one user can have multiple roles in the system)
  • Integration with third-party software and vendors, leading to potential risks of malware.

Taking measures against security threats is quite the challenge for Australian K-12 institutions and universities. Still, there are effective ways to handle these risks.

Taking action to prevent data breaches

To avert the financial and reputational losses from hacker attacks, educational institutions must act to protect themselves. According to Verizon, this is what they need to do:

  • Boost security hygiene: mend website vulnerabilities, update system settings to meet the latest security benchmarks, establish security baselines, etc.
  • Educate and train employees, raise awareness about data breaches
  • Monitor system usage to prevent internal fraudulent activities
  • Implement two-factor authorization on all devices
  • Prevent capturing a user’s credentials by securing emails and monitoring .exe files
  • Provide secure data storage
  • Work with EdTech software vendors who comply with regulations on personal data processing, security baselines and global standards of data protection.

While this may sound excessive, these are mandatory measures for all Australian institutions that are serious about cyber security.

What do trusted EdTech vendors look like?

One example of an EdTech vendor educational institutions can trust is Unicheck, the company behind a reliable plagiarism checker for teachers and students. To comply with recent regulations like GDPR in Europe, as well as COPPA and FERPA in the USA, Unicheck opened local data centers in Australia where they host and process user data. Local data centers ensure 24/7 service availability, optimal connection speed, even in case of sudden traffic spikes, and prevention from server interruptions.

To ensure excellent service, Unicheck uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers in Australia. Yehor Melnykov, CTO of Unichek, shares these four reasons why they chose Amazon:

  • Capacity to satisfy the needs of students and employees at academic institutions
  • Ability to scale automatically when the load increases or drops
  • Opportunity to store and process data in compliance with the region- and institution-wide regulations
  • 85 security standards support, ISO 27018 compliance and server-side encryption.

In addition to being a highly safe plagiarism checker, Unicheck is also extremely efficient, scanning nearly 40 billion webpages, educational databases and documents to find matches. It takes on average 24 seconds to check a 4-page paper – the fastest speed among plagiarism checkers so far.

Secure your data

Data privacy is not something to trifle with, especially in a field as sensitive to data theft as education. It is crucial for Australian Institutions to place increased attention on the way they handle and store data, improve security hygiene among employees and not integrate questionable third-party tools. It is also important to cooperate with trustworthy EdTech vendors who, in addition to offering impeccable software solutions, comply with international regulations on data security. Vendors like Unicheck, a robust plagiarism checker for education with local data centers in Australia.

If you have any questions, please ask below!