If you work in higher education, you understand how important file security is. Colleges and universities handle a tremendous amount of money, and there is an extensive amount of documentation that goes along with it. Furthermore, colleges and universities maintain many records of their college students, and it is important to invest in end-to-end encryption that protects those documents. As a result, there are a variety of security measures that are critical for college students and professionals in academia.

Granular user permissions within universities and other institutions of higher education are critical. What are granular user permissions, and why are they so important? Take a look at a few important points below, and do not hesitate to reach out to an expert who can help you appropriately manage your files.

What Are Granular User Permissions?

First, it is important to understand what granular user permissions are. This is the process of controlling exactly what documents and files someone has access to. For example, someone may have to enter a username and password combination to access the server.

Even though passwords are a great way to control who has access to a bulk set of files, you can also specify exactly which documents someone has access to. For instance, you might want someone to have access to one document, but you don’t necessarily want them to have access to another document. Password-protected file sharing is critical, and granular user permissions provide you with a greater degree of flexibility than you might have access to otherwise.

It is essential to understand that limiting someone’s file access does not necessarily mean that you do not trust them. For example, you might provide someone with access to a set of files for their specific department, but you don’t necessarily want them to have access to files in another department. Instead, granular user permissions are important from a risk management perspective.

If someone has their username and password compromised, you do not want the criminal to get access to everything on the server. With access to granular user permissions, that individual will only have access to a specific set of files. This can make it easier for you to do damage control and limit the percentage of files that are damaged, stolen, lost, or released to the outside world.

What Are the Biggest Security Threats in Higher Education?

In higher education, there are many security threats to keep in mind. Even though institutions of higher education might not be the same as tech companies or banks, they have a tremendous amount of information, particularly as it relates to college students and other young professionals. As a result, this information could be targeted by specific groups with nefarious goals and intentions.

Take a closer look at some of the biggest security threats in higher education. A few examples include:

Phishing Attacks

One of the biggest security threats facing institutions of higher education is phishing attacks. In a phishing attack, a criminal will try to pose as someone else, trying to convince that individual to surrender their username or password. There are some situations where a phishing attack could even result in someone offering their Social Security number.

There are a variety of ways this attack might unfold. Sometimes, it may take place through e-mail. In other situations, it might take place through social media. The easiest way to mitigate this attack is to educate people about the dangers of phishing attacks. Another important part of user management is to encourage people to change their passwords from time to time. That way, the risk of a phishing attack can be limited.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are also a significant threat to colleges and universities. In a DDoS attack, someone will try to overwhelm the server with a large number of commands. The server will be unable to handle all of the commands simultaneously, and it might close down as a result. This can be powerful enough to knock the entire system offline, so it is imperative that colleges and universities test their cybersecurity measures and update them from time to time. This can limit their vulnerability as it relates to this type of attack.

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are an issue for just about everyone right now, and colleges and universities are no different. In a ransomware attack, someone tries to upload a virus to the server. Then, the server encrypts all of the files on the server, rendering them useless.

The criminal will not release the ransomware virus until a ransom has been paid. Even though colleges and universities might try to remove the virus on their own, it is challenging to do so. If colleges and universities pay the ransom, they could encourage future ransomware attacks. That is why the best way to deal with a ransomware attack is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Legacy Technology

Even though this is not necessarily a cyber attack, it is still a significant threat to colleges and universities. There are plenty of colleges and universities struggling for money, and upgrading technology can be expensive. Therefore, this issue can be kicked down the road for years or even decades.

When colleges and universities continue to use outdated technology, they leave themselves vulnerable to various problems while also running into some productivity issues. Colleges and universities need to work with technology professionals to upgrade their technology from time to time. Newer technology also has more robust security measures, which can reduce the chances of a cyber attack taking place.

SQL Injection Attacks

When a criminal tries to attack an institution of higher learning, they frequently use a SQL injection attack. In a SQL injection attack, the hacker will use a piece of malicious code, often uploaded to contact forms and login pages, and embed the code in the data itself.

This type of attack is common because there are so many forms and query boxes on websites related to institutions of higher education. Then, when the malicious code is read, it can destroy, corrupt, or release different pieces of information. It is critical for colleges and universities to work with a professional team to limit the chances of falling victim to this type of attack.

These are just a few of the many examples of cyber security risks that are posed to institutions of higher education. It is critical to use granular permissions to limit potential vulnerability.

Why Are Granular User Permissions So Important in Higher Education?

Colleges and universities need to take advantage of granular user permissions. This type of password protection can reduce the chances of files being released, damaged, or stolen.

Some of the biggest reasons why colleges and universities need to rely on granular user permissions include the following:

Increased Productivity

One of the most often overlooked benefits of granular user permissions is that they can help you increase your productivity level. With granular user permissions, you can control what users see. Therefore, if users are blind to features they don’t need, you can declutter their workspace or work page. This makes it easier for them to focus on what’s important—boosting their productivity. If you are looking for a way to hide unused features that people should not have access to, granular user permissions can help you do exactly that.

Limited Risk

Of course, one of the top benefits of granular user permissions is that you can limit your risk profile. If someone has access to everything, and their username and password combination is stolen, then the criminal will have access to everything as well. This could compromise the entire college or university, but you can also limit your risk profile by taking advantage of granular user permissions. Only give people access to what is absolutely necessary for them to do their jobs, and you will have an extra layer of protection for your institution of higher learning.

Prevent Exposing Sensitive Information

There are plenty of situations where you might want to prevent someone from accessing sensitive information. For example, you might want college students to have access to the portal where they conduct research for various assignments, but you probably don’t want them to have access to the grade book. You don’t want them to be able to change their grades, and you don’t want them to see the grades of other students. One of the easiest ways to handle this information is to use granular user permissions.

Increased Institutional Control

Finally, as a college or university, there are a lot of strict regulations that you need to follow. It is critical for you to control your institution, and that means having appropriate guardrails in place. Granular user permissions can do exactly that. You do not want to face fines and sanctions from regulatory agencies or authorities, so make sure you use granular user permissions to protect yourself and your college or university.

These are a few top reasons why you need to use granular user permissions. At the same time, what is the best program to implement granular user permissions?

Use SmartFile To Protect Your College or University

If you want to protect your files at your college or university, you need to use SmartFile. Some of the main benefits of using our program include the following:

Keep Track of File Versions

You get access to advanced file versioning if you have multiple versions of the same file. This makes it easier for you to keep track as changes are made to various documents. This is critically important if you are collaborating with fellow students or professors. That way, you can see who makes what changes and track the document as it changes.

Advanced Security Measures

Of course, you also get access to advanced security measures that can help you protect your files and documents. One of the most prominent examples involves granular user permissions, but there are plenty of other tools as well. You get access to various password management features and can take advantage of two-factor authentication (2FA). This is critically important for reducing the chances of something going wrong.

No Limits on File Sizes

Finally, you don’t have to worry about dealing with limits on file sizes. If you are in a research field, you understand just how large your files can get. This is particularly true if you have a lot of pictures, diagrams, graphs, and videos. You need a program that will not limit the size of the files you can store or share, which is a great benefit to SmartFile.

If you are looking for a way to increase the amount of control over your documents, you need to rely on SmartFile to help you.

Contact Us Today To Learn More About Securing Your Files

Institutions of higher learning are being targeted in cyber attacks more often than they ever were in the past. You need to protect your sensitive information, and that is where SmartFile can help you.

We provide you with access to various features that can make it easier for you to share documents with other people, control who sees what and limit your chances of dealing with a cyber attack. It would be our pleasure to customize your package to meet your needs as well. If you would like to learn more about the different features we have available, contact us today to speak to a member of our team, and talk to us about starting your 14-day free trial!

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About John Hurley

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of SmartFile. My role is to find the right people and give them the right tools and resources needed to grow both professionally and personally.

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