Why LMS Security Is Important
It is a fast-paced world where things change at lightning speed. We have witnessed this trend in almost all spheres of life. This revolution is the engine behind the robust Learning Management System (LMS). LMS has gained extreme relevance and popularity, which has led to a general rise in the global e-learning market size. According to a projection by Statista, the e-learning market size will grow to 400 billion U.S. dollars by 2026, with LMS generating roughly 18 billion U.S. dollars in the same year.
A look at such figures tells you how lucrative the LMS industry is. From the onset, this might look like a great thing. However, the fact that LMS is a lucrative spot makes it a number one target for hackers. Moreover, that brings us to our primary focus- LMS security. Ask yourself this question: “Is my LMS secure? LMS systems hold huge bundles of sensitive data that hackers seek to compromise and use for nefarious purposes. Even more challenging is that most LMS systems are cloud-based, presenting new and urgent LMS security challenges. To that extent, security becomes a critical factor for an LMS.
LMS Security Features For Better Security
Do not panic. Although LMS security vulnerabilities exist, there are several LMS security features you can initiate to safeguard your learning management system. These features and security measures are discussed herein.
- Mobile Security
People (learners, to be precise) prefer using mobile devices to access the LMS. This prevalence in LMS mobility increases the number of vulnerable endpoints and threats. Several types of mobile-related security threats will target your LMS system. They include social engineering, data leakages via malicious apps, unsecured public WiFi, end-to-end encryption gaps, spyware, and many others.
A sound LMS system should have mobile security features to accommodate mobile users’ security. These features should apply to both mobile websites and apps. Here are some of the LMS security features you can have for the mobile version of your LMS system.
- Keep idle screens locked
- Regularly update your phone’s software
- Only download LMS systems, software, and extensions from trustworthy sources
- Use antivirus software on your phone
- Use a virtual private network, especially when using public WiFi
- Avoid jailbreaking or rooting your phone
- Authenticated by 2-step verification
The 2-step authentication is one of LMS’s most crucial yet disregarded security features. According to Google’s account authentication and best practices report, multiple-step authentication provides 100% protection against automated cyberattacks. The two-step authentication ensures that only authorized users access the learning management system. Once users input their login credentials (usernames and passwords), the system will require them to prove their identity further.
There are various two-factor authentication forms, such as secret codes, biometric authentications, and one-time passwords. For enhanced LMS security, it is wise that you initiate these factors. With 2FA, even when a hacker bypasses your passwords, they will still not access your data because they do not have access to the second authentication factor.
- Enable SSL Encryption
No web application security strategy can be completed without the mention of SSL encryption. Your LMS carries lots of sensitive data. In the modern day and age, data is a significant and vital asset and one of the most sought-after elements by attackers. Covering data through encryption makes it impossible for attackers to access, read and decipher the data. Different types of SSL certs are available in the market which is available at low prices. For example, cheap Wildcard SSL, cheap EV SSL certificate, and above all multi-domain SSL, single domain etc. All these SSL certs are designed for specific purposes.
Enabling SSL certificates on your LMS websites turn on HTTPS encryption. All communications on the websites will be concealed and protected from unauthorized access. In layman’s terms, encryption converts plaintext data into an indecipherable format called ciphertext. The ciphertext is like a “scribbled gibberish” that both machines and regular users cannot comprehend. Unless someone has the decryption key, they will not be able to read encrypted data.
Other than for security purposes, having an SSL certificate on your LMS also helps to boost user confidentiality. Most users prefer HTTPS to HTTP websites. According to Google’s Transparency Report, 93.2% of browsing time in Google Chrome was spent on HTTPS websites. SSL certificates also help to increase visibility in search engines. All these elements are for the good of your LMS.
- Single Sign-on system
A single sign-on system is a security approach that requires users to have a single set of credentials across multiple applications.
For instance, users will have to log into their LMS portals using their work emails and passwords instead of remembering new login credentials. This approach is good for the security of your LMS. LMS users using a single domain-specific email address will find this approach beneficial.
- Strong Password
Passwords are indispensable ingredients for any secure network. Most previous data breaches have happened because of poor and weak passwords. For that reason, a good LMS should have complex password requirements. For instance, the system should require users to use a password of less than a specified length. Moreover, it would be good to encourage users to refrain from using passwords across multiple platforms. According to a 2019 Google study, 13% reuse the same password across multiple platforms. This is a dangerous habit. An attacker who lays a hand on the password could compromise all accounts that use the password.
Here are some of the best password practices you should adopt for your learning management system:
- Make it a requirement for users to use long passwords (7 or more characters are ideal)
- Advise users to change their passwords frequently
- Never use similar login credentials across multiple platforms
- Blend different characters when creating your passwords
- The automated backup storage system
No single network or system is wholly immune to security vulnerabilities. It does not matter the number of security measures you take to safeguard your LMS against attackers. Hackers could still bypass all security walls as they have done to even the most secure system. Your LMS is also vulnerable to data loss, system failures, and many other vulnerabilities outside the scope of control.
It is wise to create a robust data backup and restore strategy to cushion yourself from such unexpected events. While at it, ensure you create the backups offsite and on a separate server. It is also wise that you conduct frequent checks and tests on your data backup and restoration plan to ensure that data is stored correctly and that it can be easily retrieved in things go haywire. Lastly, we highly recommend that you frequently back up your data on the LMS. Once or twice a week is good.
- Individual user, roles & permissions
Some of the most devastating security breaches that could hit your LMS are brewed from within your organization. According to the 2022 Ponemon Cost of Insider Threats Global Report, there has been a 44% rise in insider threats. The same report further states that an insider attack’s average cost is $15.38 million.
The best way to deal with insider attacks is to define the user roles and permissions. For instance, regular learners enrolled for training should have minimal access inside the platform to system administrators. Granting regular learners administrative rights will lead them to do all sorts of wrongs, such as grading themselves and awarding good grades.
- Use an Antivirus software system.
Malware, such as viruses, could corrupt sensitive data inside the LMS UX. There is no better way of protecting your learning management system against viruses than using antivirus software. The antivirus software will automatically and frequently scan your LMS to check and stop any form of viruses that might want to eat into your learning management system and its data.
- Must have an IP Blocker
IP blockers prevent hostile IP addresses from accessing your data. With an IP blocker, the system admin can list IP addresses that are allowed to access your system and those not allowed to access. Doing so ensures that malicious virtual attackers cannot access your LMS to view data without permission.
LMS, like all other internet systems, is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It knows the best LMS security measures to initiate to protect your system against attackers. This article has explored nine security features of LMS that will help boost the security of learning management systems. As a best practice, always ensure you use multiple measures for utmost security