Safety and Security Solutions for Schools and Universities: Need for Integration of Physical and Digital Protective Services Intensifies

With large populations, computer systems containing massive amounts of personal data and digital treasure troves of academic research residing on their campuses, educational institutions have become increasingly attractive targets for crime and espionage.  And because schools, colleges and universities – much like small cities – integrate many of their point-of-sale, telephony and student services systems, they are especially vulnerable to software exploits.

From physical assaults and robberies perpetrated against students and faculty to online data theft of Personal Identification Information (PII) and academic research material, today’s cybercriminals s and are focusing more attention than ever before on vulnerable educational institutions.  Especially in regard to their digital security vulnerabilities.

According to the Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC) the Education sector now ranks fourth in terms of breach incidents (7.3%) just behind the Government / Military sector (11.7%) — and ahead of the Banking /Credit /Financial sector (5.5%).[1]  The losses from cyber breaches at educational institutions have been huge.  In fact, of the 30 educational institutions that experienced data breaches in 2014 – five of the schools had larger data breaches than the notorious Sony Hack. [2]

To more fully protect campus populations and their valuable data, school administrators today are being forced to turn to integrated – physical and digital – solutions providers with the professional expertise required to coordinate and implement comprehensive safety and security programs with effective technologies.  Today, because so many safety and security systems – such as fire alarm, intrusion detection and burglar alarm, building access control, visitor management, video intercom, video surveillance and cybersecurity – are capable of being networked, the demand for integrated safety and security systems is on the rise.

Integrating Physical and Digital Safety and Security

Security officers using CCTV to monitor activities, and marked vehicles to patrol campus, remain a mainstay at many educational institutions, along with student picture identification cards and visitor badging.  However today, the physical protection of people and property is increasingly being enhanced with newer technologies for access-control including high-definition DVRs, exit door sensors and LP monitors that provide a broad range of images to allow security officers to “zoom in” with great detail on activities of interest.  More sophisticated in terms of capabilities and much less obtrusive-looking than in years past, today’s smaller high tech cameras deliver higher resolution imaging and more usable information than ever before. These new devices and related monitoring systems are now linked to the Internet with remote access available via mobile devices.

For school administrators to take maximum advantage of today’s new safety and security technologies, requires the valuable consultative services of an integrated solutions provider who understands the big picture in terms of how physical and digital safety and security have become inexorably intertwined.

Summer can be a particularly vulnerable time for educational institutions as IT staffing is often reduced during summer sessions.  But the hackers aren’t going on vacation.  Students limited established credit histories will continue to make their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) targets for fraud by hackers all year long.  Its’ never too soon for school, college and university administrators to explore new ways to better coordinate physical and digital safety and security on campus.

Dunbar provides one-stop shopping for comprehensive, integrated, safety and security solutions encompassing both premise security and cybersecurity for schools and universities through our Dunbar Security Solutions division.  For more information, visit us our website at: dunbar2016.app/industry-solutions/education.

CITATIONS – Safety and Security Solutions for Schools and Universities
[1] ITRC: Identity Theft Resource Center Breach Report Hits Record High in 2014
Surpasses More than 5,000 Reported Breaches and 675 Million Records Exposed Since 2005,
January 12, 2015
http://www.idtheftcenter.org/ITRC-Surveys-Studies/2014databreaches.html

[2] HUFFPOST COLLEGE: 5 Colleges With Data Breaches Larger Than Sony’s in 2014
Posted: 01/15/2015 Updated: 03/17/2015
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kyle-mccarthy/five-colleges-with-data-b_b_6474800.html