Schools Rethink Network Security

Last semester, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst shut down 5,000 host computers on campus to combat various attacks. “It remains to be seen [what] the long-term impact will be” on campus awareness and priorities, says Christopher Misra, network analyst with the school’s IT office. CComputer worms and viruses continue to besiege colleges and universities, which are responding with a range of network security improvements. Most schools are focusing on technology fixes: Products designed to correct specific weaknesses. But those won’t be enough if the schools’ CIOs overlook “softer” but equally vital issues, such as involvement by school presidents and provosts, and security procedures that help the school’s culture and mission. Those softer issues are getting more attention now after the worm onslaughts that hit campus networks hard last summer and fall.

These issues were laid out recently at the New England regional meeting of Educause, a consortium of higher education IT professionals. One presentation covered results of an Educause IT security survey conducted about a year ago and published in December. Full Story

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