Foreign data theft is the process of stealing institutions’ or individual’s digital information saved on servers, computers, and electronic devices. The culprit does this to obtain confidential details or to compromise the victim’s privacy.

Data theft is a huge concern for institutions, large corporations, and internet users in the UAE and all over the world. Most huge companies have experienced foreign data theft at some point and the consequences can be damaging. This is because data theft exposes protected, sensitive, and confidential details to unauthorized parties.

Consequences of Foreign Data Theft

Foreign data theft continues to happen throughout the world despite the measures taken by institutions, cyber-criminals find new ways to cheat the system. They can use supply chain attacks, malware, or sophisticated engineering methods.

Data theft can lead to financial loss. This is one of the most damaging effects of data breach. Such institutions incur the costs of investigating the theft, compensating customers, legal fees, and investing in a more powerful security system.

Organizations can also find themselves engaged in legal battles when people seek legal actions for the exposure of their personal information. Individuals can take legal actions whether the breach happened intentionally or unintentionally.

Data theft also damages an institutions’ reputation and in today’s world of technology, this information spreads within minutes. The media does not help in these situations because they make these stories trend around the world. Negative publicity is not good for institutions.

Strategies Academic Institutions can take to Protect Themselves

Academic institutions know the impacts of foreign data loss which is why they are always updating their cyber-security. The following strategies can help to protect institutions from foreign data theft;

Information Review

Academic institutions should identify the information they have, how it is utilized, protected, and the people who can access it. Human error is among the top factors that lead to foreign data theft.

Educational institutions even the most advanced university in Dubai uses both electronic and paper files to hold sensitive and valuable data. This personal information includes the number of enrolled students, medical and financial data of both students and staff, research data, and employment information.

With the knowledge of the type of information held and its purpose, academic institutions can identify resources and departments that specialize in support and data privacy issues. This way, they can design a custom data protection program suited for the institution.

Assess your Vendor Selection, Relationship, and Contacts

Academic institutions that use outdated software stand the risk of foreign data theft because hackers target facilities using out of date code. Your university in Dubai shares information with its service provider to process applications, accept payments, host student portal and website, and to provide financial aid.

This shows that more people and companies have access to students’, faculty, and parents’ personal data. Educational institutions should conduct a thorough vetting for their service providers before allowing them to access their digital information.

Assess Devices and Software

Conducting a routine evaluation of your software platforms, network devices, and systems is vital to protect against foreign data theft. It helps to monitor and identify suspicious activities and identify and implement strategies that minimize this risk.

Educational institutions are mostly targeted by hackers because of their sharing and open environment that makes them vulnerable. Teachers use smart devices and tablets to connect to the internet during lessons and they also communicate with students via emails.

Portable devices can be lost or stolen and personal and valuable information can be accessed by third parties. Institutions should assess their network activities and conduct risk assessments to identify cyber vulnerabilities and threats.

Cyber Insurance

Many cyber insurance plans do not include “voluntary payment” or “voluntary payment”, for instance, incurred losses from the insured’s voluntary money transfer to a third party. Most institutions may invest in cyber-security insurance policies to cushion themselves from data breaches.

However, cyber policies may exclude some cyber risks. Also, cyber threats and hackers change their strategies every day and your insurance provider might not keep tabs. Institutions should assess their insurance policy and assign a technology professional to examine and update their internal practices.

Always have a Response Plan

Data security issues like data theft can shut down or affect your institution in other negative ways. Educational institutions should not wait for data breaches to happen for them to start implementing security plans. Institutions need to understand their unique environment, information technology, and network so that they can create a unique response plan. Your plan should include Data Analysis and detection, preparation, eradication and containment, as well as recovery, and post-breach analysis.

Foreign data theft is on the rise as hackers figure out new ways of accessing individuals’ and institutions’ private information. Data breaches can cost an institution more than financial losses, it cost them their reputation. The good news is that educational facilities can take steps to protect their information from hackers.