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Despite Breaches, Universities Feel Good About Security Progress

Almost half of universities report breaches, but most say damage was limited
Although nearly half of them have experienced breaches in the recent past, 84 percent of university IT and communications professionals believe their networks are more secure now than they were five years ago.

That's one of the findings from a new survey being published this week by the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals In Higher Education (ACUTA), an association of university IT professionals.

The survey, which was taken during the group's recent annual meeting in Atlanta, suggests most university IT pros feel fairly confident in their data security. On average, the attendees gave their network security a 3.7 on a scale of 1 (poor security) to 5 (best security).

The high confidence level is interesting given the fact that significant security breaches were reported by 47 percent of respondents. Of those who were hit, 71 percent said the damage was "limited to only minor exposure of confidential information, along with some inevitable public embarrassment," according to the report.

The survey comes on the heels of the CDW-G School Safety Report, which found more than half (55 percent) of K-12 schools have experienced a breach in the past 12 months. In that report, approximately three-fourths of respondents ranked their cyber and physical security as "adequate."

ACUTA study respondents said mobile devices remain the weakest link in their security chains. Viruses and malware were ranked as the most dangerous threats to university environments, followed by internal control issues.

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