You have probably read numerous articles about the challenging environment faced by education establishments of all sizes and complexity, from local secondary schools to internationally renowned universities, with cybercrime presenting each with a variety of security threats.
In this situation, security has become the number one priority and for good reason. Whether you are protecting students’ sensitive personal data from hackers or research department intellectual property from malicious state actors, the challenge is similar, despite a potentially huge variation in mitigation budgets.
There’s more to total safety than just security
The focus on security is easy to understand, given the scale of the threat. According to Microsoft research, which highlights the situation over a rolling 30 day period, cyber-attacks on the education sector dwarf those targeting other sectors, accounting for 63.42% of all incidents. By comparison, attacks on the next highest sector, business and professional services, accounted for just 9.2%.
However, security cannot be taken in isolation. Security measures cannot become sticking plasters that merely cover each successive problem as it is discovered, or you begin down the path to a game of whack-a-mole, where you hammer each successive threat, more and more frantically until the mole eventually beats you.
The first move to a safer security posture is making the move to the cloud, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the largest and most specialised for the education sector. While IT security has traditionally been squarely on the shoulders of the IT department, it is now becoming recognised that a wider shared responsibility across all roles and departments is required. Cloud governance is based on a shared responsibility model, in which both the cloud provider and all stakeholders in your organisation share the responsibility for data security and compliance.
Transforming education institutions with cloud and the right partner
CirrusHQ is an AWS Cloud, Advanced Consulting and Solution Provider Partner, but one of fewer than 50 globally that possess the AWS Competency in Education. This means we have the necessary experience and expertise in delivering cloud solutions and services to help facilitate teaching and learning, whilst helping organisations modernise their IT operations.
Over the past 18 months, we have seen amazing innovation among our higher education customers in the face of complex challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It accelerated the need to transform not only their infrastructure and systems, but the models and methods for how they meet the needs of learners and their institution’s mission.
Education institutions that hadn’t previously considered the cloud prior to the pandemic are often now utilising a hybrid cloud computing strategy that takes advantage of cloud benefits, but still leaves out a critical component: cloud governance.
Cloud governance is your future and it makes sense now
Having made the move to the cloud, a robust cloud governance strategy will help you run your organisation optimally and keep it safe, in an increasingly threat-laden environment.
Effective cloud governance delivers the appropriate level of protection against a number of avoidable risks: data breaches, intellectual property theft, damage to your brand and your reputation, to say nothing of the potential financial loss.
A well-crafted governance strategy will also mitigate the risk of non-compliance with mandates such as PCI, HIPAA and GDPR. In fact, Gartner, the leading IT research and advisory firm, predicts that “through 2025, 99% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.”
Effective cloud governance involves a two stage approach:
1. Understanding of how the four pillars – visibility, configuration, operations and risk – impact the security of your cloud assets. Each pillar has been developed through years of experience and thousands of successful AWS deployments.
2. Developing best practices for continuously monitoring, assessing, and optimising each of these.
To help cloud governance become an integral part of your computing strategy, together with AWS, we have created a succinct guide. It explains the business case for cloud governance, and a strategy to follow for helping you safeguard your organisation – to drive not only your success, but that of your students and colleagues.
Is your organisation ready to take the next step on its cloud governance journey? Ask yourself:
• Do we have full visibility into our cloud infrastructure?
• Can we easily and effectively find and remediate misconfigurations?
• Do we have automated processes for managing cloud operations?
• Can we find, address, and reduce risks at scale?