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Higher Education Needs More Protection


Over the past year, there has been an increase in phishing and hacking attacks throughout Higher Education nationwide. Hackers are targeting these institutions for a variety of different reasons. Some of the reasons are access to sensitive data such as date of births, social security numbers, research findings, enrollment status and more. Also, a large amount of IT systems in Higher Ed  cannot prevent or are not prepared for a cyber-attack. The main initiatives for institutions moving forward should be to implement a security system that enforces students, staff and faculty to enroll in two-factor authentication. This is imperative to ensure you take the next step into cyber security.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication (2FA) is a beautiful security feature that has become an industry standard for securing accounts. Recently, you may have noticed after logging into an account with your normal password you were prompted to have your cell phone registered so a One Time Password (OTP) (List of several other OTP’s) could be sent to it for future logins.

This is the gist of 2FA, requiring an additional step to logging in, the second factor. Having 2FA makes it very hard to execute things like phishing, which is when hackers send out a false emails claiming to be urgent info with a phony link that directs you to type in your username and password. Even with that info hackers will have trouble getting into any account that is secured by 2FA as they will need access to the user’s preregistered phone to receive an OTP. It is clear how 2FA can protect online systems, but let’s look at why Higher Education is taking on 2FA.

Why should Higher Education take on 2FA?

As my last blog highlighted Higher Education is a major target for online hackers, this a problem sweeping the world and a solution needs to arise. 2FA seems to be the easiest fix and really solves a lot of the issues facing IT departments in Higher Education. As institutions grow they develop satellite locations, this spreads out the institute and leaves lots of information to be transferred over the web. This creates things like online databases and login pages that lead to higher secure information. This is a reason why they are being targeted!

2FA makes hacking these pages much more difficult and transcends the realm of password hacking/phishing. Skilled hackers (most of the time) are now needed to break into these secured sites. 2FA also protects student information, as well as personal info since most students are bringing their own devices. Here is some of the devices known to be allowed on campus: cell phone, laptop, gaming system, etc. These connect to the school infrastructure and would leave them vulnerable without the added security of 2FA.

2FA is great, but how can we make it better?

PortalGuard for Education adds a layer of security with 2FA, and allows the admin to force enrollment (registered email, phone…) initially or after a set number of days. This will in turn provide ease of use for the users and create early adoption. 2FA is just the icing on top.  PortalGuard for Education, also comes with Single-Sign-on, Self-service Password Reset and over 120 other features to set you up with complete cyber security.

Single Sign-on allows for users to log into just one page to get to all their applications securely and easily! Single Sign-on is a must for Higher Education as most users in the industry have multiple applications running that they would normally need separate user names and passwords to remember for all of them. PortalGuard for Education, will satisfy all of your security needs with options such as 2FA while gaining all the benefits of the product.

Lastly, a great benefit of PortalGuard for Education is how customizable it is. The ability to make your Single-Sign-on login/jump-page look and feel like your own website sets itself apart from the competition. This will make the transition for users that much easier as they will recognize the site after the change. Check out my blog on education portals to see my top 10.

Set your campus up to be protected now and in the future!





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Rob K

Author: Rob K

Rob is an infinite being who enjoys to create art, uncover hidden truths, and spread love. He spent a little over 3 years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute studying computer science, information technology, and web science.

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