A new study found that top institutional leaders are increasingly focused on improving both physical and network security, reflecting ongoing increases in school-focused violence and in cyberattacks on school computer networks.

The Insights Student Experience Survey, released by CBORD, compiled responses from hundreds of students and leaders at higher education institutions across the country. The findings reflect recent concern for cyberthreats to college campuses. In May of 2022, the FBI issued a notification informing colleges and universities that sensitive login credentials had been found for sale online, potentially leading to subsequent cyberattacks against the schools. In addition, the threat of on-campus violence has institutional leaders looking toward technologies to better track and inform students of potential harm.

According to the research, nearly two-thirds of top higher education decision-makers felt that threats to physical and network security were among their top priorities for the near future. The study finds that nearly half of college leaders have plans to invest in automation over the next two years to address ongoing staffing concerns and create new revenue streams for their institutions. Moreover, labor shortages remain a top concern for institutional leaders across higher education as they plan for smaller class sizes beginning in 2025. Rounding out this list of challenges, nearly half of higher education leaders have plans to invest in systems to improve security on their campus.

The report was compiled by surveys conducted for CBORD by market research firm KS&R. Respondents included top-level, multi-site decision-makers, departmental leaders (primarily in business operations, dining and culinary services, enterprise systems and support, purchasing and procurement, and facilities) and students.