March 21, 2023

Higher education has had to adapt to unforeseen challenges, the pandemic being the most recent and obvious example. Institutions have also had to pivot as the office and the classroom continues to move towards a more remote-accepting landscape, with all the technological and security related challenges that entails. Change has come, and yesterday is not returning. So, what should we do about it?

Higher education knows how to handle tough problems. They’ve proven that. However, it isn’t always a space that does so proactively and sustainably, leading to an unnecessarily painful loss of money, time, and reputation when things go sideways.

At Softdocs, we were first in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market with a cloud solution and our customers rely on us to be a partner who is sustainable and secure. That is an expectation that we must maintain, even as the variables around us—just as in higher education— constantly change. We earn our customers’ trust with a proven track record in cloud delivery and customer success, but equally as important, with the highest levels of security and sustainability. To do that, we constantly anticipate challenges. Higher education must do the same, particularly as it relates to the increasing threat of cyber security breaches.

A lack of confidence in higher education’s preparedness.

A majority of individuals working in higher education feel that they are operating in an environment that is not prepared for change and/or disruption, according to an EDUCAUSE QuickPoll, Sixty-nine percent of respondents indicated that their institution continues to experience either “a great deal” (23%) or “some” (46%) change and/or disruption.

One of the most difficult kind of disruptions to deal with, if you are not prepared, is the realization that bad actors have stolen your institution’s data, including the personal information of your students and staff. Getting that data back can be costly. For example, the University of California, San Francisco paid a ransomware attacker over $1million to regain access to its decryption key, never mind the reputational damage, time, and inevitable stress.

In 2021, among all sectors, higher education took the longest to recover from a malware attack, with 40 percent of institutions taking more than a month, according to a report from Sophos Etrieve from the ground up to keep your data secure and to fit seamlessly into your institution through APIs, single-sign on (SSO), and a central access control policy.”

Softdocs has joined with the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) to become a Cybersecurity Champion. We also have the experience to ensure your data management, integration, and security structure is effective. We have helped hundreds of clients integrate our platform with their SIS and other core systems across campus providing secure and compliant forms, workflows, electronic signatures, and content storage to build a connected campus and allow faculty and staff to easily do more with less.

As the only education focused provider of process automation and document management to enable schools to modernize campus operations and drive institutional success, we know how critical it is to be reliable, consistent, and secure.

Compliance is key.

As educational institutions grow larger and more virtual, and gather more data from their employees and students, they become bigger targets for cybercriminals. Compliance is the tool that we use to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect the data of our customers.

McKinney says, “We conduct routine smaller audits to ensure that we are meeting our compliance guidelines. Security is ingrained in our culture and how we do business to provide our customers with a secure infrastructure. I am also responsible for working with our Security Team to meet regularly to discuss cybersecurity topics, industry news, and best practices. Further, we proactively conduct disaster recovery and business continuity testing, penetration testing, and risk assessments.”

In a landscape that is constantly changing, higher education needs to be ahead of curve, anticipating cybersecurity risks before they ever happen. Done well, technology partners like Softdocs, can help organizations protect their data, and control and reduce costs—both monetarily and reputationally—in an everchanging security and sustainability environment.