Protecting universities from cyberattacks

Cybersecurity is rated as one of the top concerns for organisations worldwide

As a global leader in the security technology industry, Gallagher is working with universities all over the world to help them mitigate risk and secure their systems against potential attacks.

In looking at the cyber risks that relate to universities, there are three main areas of concern: protecting intellectual property (IP), protecting personal data, and protecting facilities and infrastructure. “A vulnerability in any of these areas is serious business for our university customers,” says Richard Huison, Gallagher regional manager for UK and Europe. “A cyberattack that steals IP, particularly with regards to unproven and unpublished research, could have significant impact on a university’s bottom line by preventing them from commercialising their findings later down the track,” says Huison.

Similarly, IP relating to teaching material and course work must also be protected against cyberattacks. The introduction of online teaching means that students are no longer required on campus to learn, and material is therefore accessible by more people in more places than ever before. In order to continue to deliver their core service and maintain competitive edge, it’s important for universities to protect their academic IP with strong cybersecurity measures.

Universities hold massive amounts of personal data on current and past students and staff. That data encompasses a lot of personal information, including residential addresses, next of kin information, performance results/grades, and – in the case of students living on-campus – medical notes which could involve details such as a mental healthcare plan.

It’s vital that staff and students feel their privacy is being managed and protected by their chosen university

“A huge concern for universities is the risk of personal data being accessed by unauthorised parties,” says Huison. “It’s vital that staff and students feel their privacy is being managed and protected by their chosen university. We work very closely with our customers to ensure they understand and maintain the most-up- to-date technology and, therefore, have the greatest cyber resilience possible”.

The final critical cyber risk for universities relates to an attack on their systems and infrastructure which could result in someone gaining control over facility access, lighting, air-conditioning, temperature-controlled spaces such as labs and freezers, and audio-visual equipment. The risks here are substantial, and the disruption would likely render a university unable to continue operating safely.

As businesses across all industries are realising, the potential risks of loss of income, disruption to operational continuity, data exposure, and reputational damage are just too great to ignore. Gallagher’s unparalleled cyber protection is an integral part of their security solutions. It has a philosophy that cybersecurity cannot be sprinkled on top of a system or infrastructure, it is something that must be baked-in and developed at every stage. With a dedicated cybersecurity research team, Gallagher regularly carries out internal and external vulnerability testing, providing ongoing protection in an ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.

Gallagher’s intelligent data management uses industry-leading standards for data protection. End-to-end encryption with secure, encrypted SQL databases and end-to-end authentication are all part of the Gallagher solution. They provide system hardening and configuration advice, and their network of fully trained and certified installers ensure your system is as cybersecure as possible on installation.

Gallagher solutions are engineered to meet the requirements of critical sites with some of today’s highest security requirements, including utilities, civil infrastructure, corrections, and military and defence facilities. Even though universities are not required to meet these standards, Gallagher’s customers benefit from the company taking its learnings from the high-security environment and integrating them into commercial products – creating the world’s most cyber- resilient physical security infrastructure.

In a world where cyber threats evolve daily, so too must our defences.

If you would like to talk about your cybersecurity concerns, please contact us on 02476 641234 or email

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