Sharing data in the cloud provides educators and students the ability to work and study wherever they are. Still, it also comes with some key security considerations, especially when creating your cloud strategy.

Dennis Sage, director of the Infrastructure and Network Services IT at Moraine Valley Community College, detailed how educators can secure their data from ransomware and other threats in the cloud during a June 16 webinar.

“We need to be careful both certainly in higher ed, but also as system owners, that we’re making sure that we are doing what we need to do to have our systems secure,” Sage said.

There are fundamental practices like creating solid passwords or frequently changing those passwords. These are practices that should already be in place to secure your system. Yet, according to Sage, many with legacy systems forget to place these practices in place.

“We are looking to set policies in place where we’re going to change passwords regularly. Additionally, we’ve set up other levels of security like multi-factor authentication,” Sage said. “Continuous updates are necessary to protect systems against any illicit cyber activity.”

But for systems that have been around for years, further steps need to be taken. For example, there may be some unused accounts in some higher education systems that no longer have any place within their cloud servers. Therefore, according to Sage, you must review your system consistently to verify that each account is still valid.

“These are the types of things we need to do to verify what we have a secure system. And we need to make sure we are using the same sets of tools and policies across the board whenever we can,” Sage said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.