Students in student-run SOCs are earning real-world security experience while helping university IT teams combat network threats.

How 3 university executives created student-run SOCs

Students are earning real-world security experience while helping university IT teams combat network threats

Cybersecurity has been top-of-mind for university IT leaders and administrators as they strive to balance access with security and vigilance. The challenge is complicated by a talent shortage and higher-ed’s continued position as a prime target for ransomware and cybercriminals. Now, many CIOs/CISOs have included students as part of the solution, creating student-run security operations centers (SOCs) that yield multiple benefits for their universities.

Student-run SOCs give students real-world experience in cybersecurity while giving their institutions more manpower and vigilance to prevent cyberattacks.

Launched just this month, Louisiana State University’s hybrid SOC trains students as if they’re full-time employees. The SOC is a partnership with Splunk, which provides a unified security and observability platform, and TekStream, Splunk’s cloud partner that provides technical and staffing solutions to organizations.

“Students are trained by TekStream and by LSU, doing remediation detection and response alongside TekStream. It will be true real-world experience,” said Craig Woolley, CIO at LSU. Woolley added that if students are unable to handle an incoming incident, TekStream will handle it. Students will work Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., with TekStream providing 24/7 support and monitoring.

LSU will operate two student-run SOCs at its Baton Rouge and Shreveport campuses, and eventually, SOC capabilities will be scaled to any institution across the state wishing to develop one.

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Laura Ascione

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