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  • September 11, 2023

Selling to Colleges & Universities and asked to complete a HECVAT? In the realm of cybersecurity, the standardization of assessment tools is vital. Those familiar with the AICPA's SOC2 (System and Organization Controls 2) will recognize its widespread applicability in various industries. However, for those selling to Colleges & Universities, there's another tool tailored for higher education: the HECVAT (Higher Education Community Vendor Assessment Toolkit).


Background: EDUCAUSE and its Mission

To grasp the origin of HECVAT, one must explore EDUCAUSE – the organization behind it. EDUCAUSE stands as the most extensive community of Chief Information Officers and other Technology professionals that serve at Colleges & Universities. This nonprofit association aims to propel higher education through the utilization of information technology. Recognizing the need for an assessment tool tailored to the unique challenges faced by these institutions, they spearheaded the development of HECVAT.


HECVAT vs. SOC2: A Comparative Analysis

While SOC2 offers a broad-based assessment relevant across a range of industries, HECVAT delves into the specific intricacies of higher education. It considers the unique threats, regulations, and nuances inherent to the academic environment.

Transitioning from SOC2 to HECVAT

For professionals acquainted with SOC2, navigating HECVAT might appear challenging. However, both share similarities in their systematic approach. Here's a concise transition guide:

  1. Acquaint Yourself with Higher Education Challenges: Delve into the specific data privacy mandates, user demographics, and infrastructure peculiarities of educational establishments.
  2. Build on SOC2 Expertise: The foundational cybersecurity knowledge gleaned from SOC2 remains pertinent. Notions surrounding data integrity, access governance, and incident management, to name a few, are still relevant.
  3. Engage Thoroughly with HECVAT: Immerse in the toolkit's exhaustive modules. HECVAT presents a clear pathway, ensuring vendors resonate with the IT benchmarks established by higher education entities.
  4. Connect and Participate: Engage with the dynamic community enveloping EDUCAUSE and HECVAT. Exchanging experiences, hurdles, and best practices with counterparts can furnish invaluable perspectives.


Final Thoughts

For cybersecurity professionals in the higher education sector, the HECVAT isn't just another toolkit; it's a specialized asset designed for precision. By combining the foundational knowledge from SOC2 with HECVAT’s detailed framework, institutions can achieve a robust security posture tailored to their unique needs. Whether you're a seasoned SOC2 professional or new to the field, embracing HECVAT can significantly bolster higher education’s cyber defenses.


To learn more about the HECVAT and complete one automatically, schedule time with our team here.


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