Leaders in Professional, Continuing and Online Education

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Latest Trends Impacting Marketing and Higher Education
from Director of UPCEA's Center for Research and Strategy, Jim Fong

Cybersecurity, FaceApp, and Higher Ed

I admit it. I did the FaceApp thing and I shouldn’t have been surprised that the “old me” looks a lot like my father. However, like many others, I later learned through the media that there are potential threats and concerns regarding the ownership and permissions of the app. While the developers of the app are located in the Russia, my further research showed that the creators’ goal is revenue generation, and not necessarily to sell information on the dark web or influence the 2020 U.S. elections. While the possibility exists and has significant potential, I’ve concluded that some of the risks may have been exaggerated. What is more relevant are that the systems of many major cities globally are being hacked and ransoms are being demand (and being paid), that customer databases are being stolen from major retailers and corporations, and that our power grids and utilities are under cyberattack.

Unlike the webmaster craze in the late 1990’s, cybersecurity education and training is here to stay. And unlike when professional, continuing and online (PCO) education units rushed to the Internet to have a presence, and colleges and universities responded with webmaster programs (which for many were ultimately not sustainable), cybersecurity threats continue to increase, morph and become more sophisticated. They are also a threat to the lifeblood of an organization, its employees and customers. Cybersecurity impacts higher education at so many levels, such as protecting sensitive student and financial information, and exposing externally contracted faculty research, as well as employee and customer records. A successful cyberattack can also shut down operations, negatively impact the institution’s brand, force it to pay ransoms, and be in violation of codes and standards. While most institutions have taken measures to protect their systems and educate their employees about cyberattacks, why haven’t colleges and universities taken a more active role in defending society? Is society better equipped to train the network administrator, technology manager, chief information officer or president of the company on cyber issues?

Higher education has an opportunity for leadership and new longer-term revenues. While many institutions may not be able to respond quickly enough to technological advancement and changes, the investing into an area like cybersecurity offers many benefits. Read our latest whitepaper to see for yourself.

Jim Fong, UPCEA

Lead consultant Jim Fong, the founding director of UPCEA’s Center for Research and Strategy, has extensive background in marketing at Penn State, as well as experience in private industry. Jim brings a rich understanding of the dynamics driving today’s higher education leaders, providing research-driven strategy and positioning. Jim often presents at UPCEA’s regional and national conferences, sharing vital information with attendees.

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