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Cybersecurity and Privacy in the Higher Education Industry

Practical cybersecurity and privacy counseling, tailored to meet the real-world needs of colleges and universities

Colleges and universities collect, process, and create enormous amounts of data, much of which is sensitive: student education records; student, faculty, and staff health and financial information; and the university’s own intellectual property. From FERPA and HIPAA to GDPR and state breach notification laws, the patchwork of privacy-related laws and regulations is dizzying, and the consequences of a loss or inadvertent disclosure of data can be devastating and can include substantial fines. Data privacy and cybersecurity are inextricably linked, and both fields are riddled with challenges and legal risks.

Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s team of cybersecurity and privacy professionals work collaboratively to support our higher education clients at all stages and from all angles: we advise on compliance with privacy regulations and cybersecurity preparedness; we guide them through crisis management when a data security incident occurs; and we offer a full range of post-incident services. Our interdisciplinary approach means that attorneys in different legal fields — corporate, insurance, intellectual property, white collar crime and litigation — provide our college and university clients with well-rounded, innovative solutions. We also partner with insurance companies, forensic data technology firms and PR specialists to develop approaches and solutions to help protect our clients’ resources, property and reputations.

Industries Related to Cybersecurity and Privacy in the Higher Education Industry:

Services Related to Cybersecurity and Privacy in the Higher Education Industry:


Being prepared in the constantly evolving landscape of privacy regulations and cybersecurity threats requires those who create, collect or use data to remain abreast of the latest changes. Our team is here to help our college and university clients do that, with a range of services that includes:

  • Data Privacy Compliance and Pre-Cybersecurity Incident Preparation
    Strategic counseling and board governance
    Regulatory matters and internal compliance
    Institutional data privacy and information governance programs
    Development and review of employee contracts
    Comprehensive cybersecurity preparedness
    Counseling on compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    Privacy risk review for big data analytics and advice on technology development
    Review of vendor agreements for data storage and other contracted services
    Pre-event evaluation of insurance coverage for cyber-risks
    Specialist referrals, including computer security specialists and public relations professionals
  • Cybersecurity Incident Response and Investigation
    Immediate (24/7) consultation through our legal team with a forensic data technology specialist to minimize the effects of an attack or breach
    Post-event evaluation of insurance claim
    Advice and assistance with reporting to authorities, if required
    Advice and assistance with reporting to affected parties, as required/appropriate
    Consultation with public relations professionals to manage messaging to students, faculty, staff and media
  • Post-Cybersecurity Incident Defense
    Defense of government investigation/proceedings
    Data privacy and cybersecurity litigation
    Ongoing public relations assistance
    Forensic data analysis
    Loss/damage mitigation
    After-action reviews and lessons learned


The group includes attorneys who have received the following recognition:

Trade Groups & Associations


Alexander R. Bilus
Evan J. Foster