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58% of Colleges Suffered Breach Last Year

Data loss keeping IT directors up at night according to CDW-G's new higher education IT security report card

VERNON HILLS, Ill. -- CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G), a wholly owned subsidiary of CDW Corporation and leading source of Information Technology (IT) solutions to governments and educators, today released the results of its third annual Higher Education IT Security Report Card, a national survey that asks higher education IT directors and managers to rate the state of IT security and the support they receive from constituents on their campuses. The 2007 report provides three-year trend data along with additional insights on increasingly complex campus security issues such as converged IT and physical security solutions.

According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, there have been 148 publicly-disclosed data breaches at colleges and universities since 2005. While some incidents are unintentional, such as a data file posted to a public Web site, hacker activity and malicious attacks account for much of the data loss. The 2007 CDW-G Higher Education IT Security Report Card reveals that despite increased attention to the need for better higher education IT security, there has been little progress toward improving IT security in higher education. Key findings from the study include:

  • Fewer than half of campus networks are safe from attack; 58 percent report at least one security breach in the last year

  • Data loss or theft has increased 10 percent in the last year, up to 43 percent, including the loss or theft of staff and student personal information

  • Increased attention to the convergence of IT and physical security solutions, but slow adoption of these tools

  • Lack of staff resources is the biggest barrier to improving campus IT security

Data in Danger

“Ensuring IT security at higher education institutions is challenging,” said Julie Smith, director, higher education for CDW-G. “The amount of data residing on the network is growing exponentially and IT directors struggle to balance security concerns with the open nature of higher education. The Report Card gives voice and support to their concerns.”

CDW Corp.

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