The key to campus network security: Better risk management

“Identify the threats most likely to impact your company, and spend your limited funds defending against those,” one expert says.

Campus networks host tens of thousands of devices each day, and while those devices have access to network resources, campus IT administrators must be vigilant as they strike a balance between openness and vigilance.

Finding that balance can prove difficult if IT administrators attempt to address every single threat, no matter how relevant that threat might be to the campus. Many experts suggest focusing on a university’s mission, and adjusting security measures so they support this mission.

Campus IT security staff should determine exactly that, said Dave Cullinane, retired chief information security officer at eBay and co-founder of the Cloud Security Alliance, during an EDUCAUSE webinar to celebrate October’s Cyber Security Awareness Month.…Read More

Mizzou finds balance between web security, intellectual freedom

The school struck a balance between computer security and research freedom.
The school struck a balance between computer security and research freedom.

Universities pride themselves on giving students the intellectual freedom to explore their academic interests in an open, independent, and safe learning environment. A critical component of this mission is to make sure students feel secure that their private information is being protected at all times. Imagine leaving home for the first time at 18 years of age and immediately having to deal with identity theft. You’d suddenly become much more cynical, wouldn’t you?

Like all colleges, the University of Missouri collects and stores our students’ personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, eMail addresses, transcripts, grades, and even medical records. Employees in our Residential Life department need access to this information for administrative reasons. Unfortunately, our staff members have varying levels of computer knowledge, and varying levels of internet security sense. Users inadvertently click on malicious links and visit sites that are infested with malware. As a result, several years ago, we saw that malware was taking over machines, sapping bandwidth, blocking access to applications, and potentially putting students’ personal information at risk. At one point, the security threats were coming in so fast that machines were rendered unusable.

As a part of an open learning environment it’s important that the IT department doesn’t inhibit independent thinking or intellectual freedom. However, the web surfing habits of our employees were impacting the performance of the department’s 230 computers and others’ ability to use them.…Read More

Schools beef up security for web applications

Colleges are using web apps for more than just eMail.
Colleges are using web apps for more than just eMail.

K-12 schools and colleges are adding extra layers of security to web applications that are being used for everything from eMail service to group assignments. The extra security is particularly desired as administrators use the applications to store sensitive information that could compromise student and faculty privacy.

Google Apps has risen to prominence in education’s move toward web-based tools that store massive amounts of data and allow for collaboration. Google announced in February that 7 million students—about half of all college students in the U.S.—now use the company’s applications, such as Google Sites, Google Docs, and Gmail.

With invaluable information stored online and vulnerable to any hacker who can figure out a single password, administrators are looking for ways to ensure that student and educator data are kept safe with more complex security methods.…Read More

Going rogue: IT officials fight student-run web networks

A University of Iowa security audit revealed rogue web connections across campus.
A University of Iowa security audit revealed rogue web connections across campus.

Campus technology officials say there’s only one surefire way to stop students from creating their own wireless internet connections in dormitories and creating a security risk for computer users: provide reliable wireless access across campus.

Unauthorized, or “rogue,” wireless networks cropped up on college campuses of every size in the mid-2000s, IT chiefs say, as students became impatient with little or no wireless connection in their dorms.

Many campuses only had wireless connections in libraries, leaving students to plug into the internet when studying in dormitories.…Read More