The higher education landscape in the U.S. has changed drastically since March. In many cases, students left their campuses for spring break and never returned. While remote learning may now be required for universities and colleges, it is a substantial change for most students, faculty and IT leaders.
In addition to learning challenges, the rapid shift to virtual classes has introduced a number of IT threats. The sheer number and wide distribution of devices make it harder to provide end-to-end security.
“The perimeter is gone,” says Hunter Ely, a security strategist at Palo Alto Networks, the global cybersecurity leader. “The perimeter is now that space around each of your users or each of your branches; that’s where your perimeter is. You have to bring the security in, and you have to enforce using a zero-trust model.”
Because very few universities are considering reopening campuses at normal capacity in the fall, online learning will continue to be an integral part of the future of higher ed. With data dispersed in new and varied locations, it is important to pay attention to network traffic analysis jumps. As colleges and universities navigate this new normal, Palo Alto Networks is ideally situated to help higher education institutions achieve the level of security they need for students, instructors and staff — regardless of where they are physically located.
From Hardware to Cloud, Improve Security
To make this happen, hardware-based solutions that sit on the physical network will need to be either replaced or augmented by cloud-based solutions. By integrating threat detection solutions such as those offered by Palo Alto Networks, universities can equip themselves with the next-generation security measures they need to protect against cyberintruders.
“There are many ways to protect the network. What we’re doing is software-defined and cloud-delivered security, which is the way forward,” Ely says. “Where we’re focusing our time and effort is in building security services that are contextual to the person, device or network. That’s important because you don’t have to rely on traditional, on-premises methods to secure remote access.”
“You don’t have to route all your traffic through your firewall to inspect and make sure it’s secure,” adds Ely. “It’s all enforced at the cloud level.”