During recent discussions with a number of IT decisionmakers across the higher education landscape, an interesting trend emerged. Many of these leaders and their IT teams choose to forego backups of mobile endpoints and edge devices, instead entrusting that responsibility to individual users and employees. Some cited cost as their main prohibitive factor for employing a more comprehensive backup posture, while the majority contended backups of their centralized data repositories, which individual users have access to, is sufficient cyber hygiene.
With this approach, higher education institutions open themselves up to unnecessary loss. The edge is the most vulnerable surface for attacks. When colleges and universities leave the responsibility of endpoint backups to individual users, they stand to lose valuable – and potentially sensitive – data. In practice, an IT department’s ability to backup and restore devices at the edge should complement a solid and comprehensive endpoint security posture. This is key both from a productivity standpoint (no one wants to lose hours, days, or even weeks in unnecessary downtime) and from a quarantine and cyber threat mitigation standpoint. Luckily, many of the schools I spoke with are beginning to recognize the shortcomings of their current approach, citing productivity issues they have already encountered as a result of it. As they continue to examine and reassess their backup strategies, the way ahead involves one of two steps: either backup all edge and mobile endpoints across the enterprise or, at a minimum for organizations hesitant to make the leap, backup a selection of endpoints that contain data deemed critical to organizational success.