Twice each year, Cisco threat researchers and technology partners share data and analysis about cybercriminal activity that threatens networks around the globe. The goal of these cybersecurity reports is to arm you with information that can help you stop attackers or mitigate the impact of an attack.

The Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report focuses on advances in malware and new exploits of the frequently undefended: Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud devices. It also highlights the ways in which bad actors are becoming better and better at evading detection.

For those in the public sector who protect, serve, and educate U.S. citizens, Cisco has produced an Impacts on Public Sector edition of the report, which focuses on threats to public sector networks and risks to critical infrastructure and services. This report shares strategies to help schools, federal agencies, and state and local governments protect what’s most valuable and most vulnerable.

Higher ed cyber threats: By the numbers
Both reports use data from the Cisco 2018 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study to help tell the story of cybercriminals and our defenders. And these numbers are compelling.

  • More than half of higher education respondents (58%) reported that they had experienced at least one public security breach; this number is higher than that reported in all other industries.
  • The cost of breaches like these is high: In addition to legal ramifications and damage to an institution’s reputation, 51% said that attacks cost their college or university more than $500,000.
  • Cybercriminals are always on the hunt for new areas to exploit, and colleges and universities report that the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are the most challenging areas to defend, with 71% saying that IoT and BYOD pose a high or moderate risk to their networks. On most campuses, smart devices already outnumber traditional computing equipment. Consider students who rely on smart watches, wireless speakers, personal assistants, and game systems, in addition to their smart phones, laptops, and printers. Colleges and universities deploy thousands of smart devices themselves, from video surveillance equipment to parking systems, and from wayfinding technology to smart laundry or vending machines.

What are the obstacles to cybersecurity in higher education?
Not surprisingly, budget limitations (41%) and a lack of trained personnel (27%) make it difficult for colleges and universities to respond to evolving cyber threats. Most industries report a median number of 40 security personnel poised to defend their enterprises. At colleges and universities, this number is just 20, and 31% of college and university respondents say their current workload is too heavy to take on any new responsibilities, like investigating or remediating threats or deploying new technologies to improve security.

In spite of these obstacles, there is hope. Download Impacts on Public Sector for a list of recommendations for public sector security personnel to consider for strengthening their network defenses.

And discover more information and a global perspective on protecting against cyber threats in the Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report.



Donna Eason

Global Customer Marketing Writer