Google search change leads to major higher-ed security breach

IT experts say campuses should more quickly adjust to Google search changes.

A modification in the way Google searches the web exposed the Social Security numbers of 43,000 people affiliated with Yale University, highlighting another data storage vulnerability that could vex campus IT leaders and prompting questions from technologists who are skeptical of colleges’ commitment to securing sensitive information.

The Yale breach is the latest high-profile data security incident in higher education—one that originated in September 2010, when Google announced its searches would include file transfer protocol (FTP) servers, which previously had been off-limits to general internet queries.

Read more about data breaches in higher education……Read More

Brown University expands Google services, could save $1M per year

Brown University will bring Gmail to 7,000 staff, faculty, and graduate students.
Brown University will bring Gmail to 7,000 staff, faculty, and graduate students this fall.

Reports of Gmail’s demise, it seems, have been greatly exaggerated. After a spring that saw at least three prominent universities move away from Google’s free hosted eMail and applications, technology officials at Brown University will expand the use of these tools beyond its undergraduates this summer after faculty clamored for the services over the past year—a move that could save the university $1 million annually.

The Ivy League university in Providence, R.I., launched the free Google Apps for Education for its 6,000 undergraduates last academic year—a migration that made students “happy,” “productive,” and “excited,” Brown’s IT director of support services, Geoff Greene, wrote in a June 29 post on Google’s official blog.

“And then some people got jealous,” Greene wrote.…Read More

Ning stays free for educators, with restrictions

Free Ning groups now will be limited to 150 members.
Free Ning groups now will be limited to 150 members.

The social networking web site Ning, which many educators have used to establish online groups with similar professional interests, will remain free for educators despite moving to a fee-based model this summer, the site announced May 4. But some education technology experts believe Ning could see dwindling interest among teachers and college professors because of new limitations on group sizes and video and chat capabilities.

Ning, which has more than 46 million members and 300,000 social networks created by its contributors, unveiled its revamped pricing model last week, which includes a $2.95 monthly charge for Ning Mini, $19.95 for Ning Plus, and $49.95 a month for Ning Pro. The Ning Mini model will be available at no cost to educators. Student must be 13 or older to sign up for a Ning account, according to the company’s web site.

Ning’s new service will begin in July. The shift will mean 80 percent of Ning’s revenue will come from customers paying for one of the three options, the company announced. Jason Rosenthal, the company’s chief operating officer, wrote on Ning’s blog that basic services will remain free for education groups because a “major education company will be sponsoring Ning Mini Networks for educators in primary and secondary education.”…Read More

Colleges appeal to students with green policies

Universities are touting green initiatives to draw eco-conscious students.
Universities are touting green initiatives to draw eco-conscious students.

Small private colleges and large research universities alike have adopted green policies in recent years in an effort to trim energy bills, encourage sustainability, and lure environmentally conscious students to their campuses. Now, a college counseling company has named five schools in particular as the most eco-friendly.

Such lists could carry weight among prospective students. In fact, nearly seven in 10 high school students surveyed by the Princeton Review last year said they would evaluate a college’s environmental policies and commitments before attending classes there. And with Earth Day approaching on April 22, schools are touting their green credentials in the annual springtime recruiting blitz.

IvyWise, a counseling company based in New York City and headed by admissions expert Katherine Cohen, released its list last week of schools that appeal to the greenest of prospective students: the University of Washington at Seattle, Arizona State University, Bates College, Emory University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder.…Read More