Page 15 - Campus Technology, May/June 2020
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(broadband and cellular) are offering drive- up hotspots with free, public WiFi for users who otherwise have limited or no access to the internet. Obviously, this is a critical piece to anyone’s success, whether it be someone working remotely or a student completing their studies. The need for high-speed and reliable internet access has never been higher. That said, consider the slightly less obvious risk this may present in protecting one’s electronic footprint and data privacy. An open, public WiFi signal is already a vulnerability in any conditions, but the increased demand and propensity for doing more secure activities on that signal makes this an area of concern that should be addressed through promoting VPN use, encryption, etc.
6) Limited Operations and Reduced Funding
Most of us throughout higher education already have felt the struggle and strain of limited budgets, shrinking staffs, etc. But often some of the most inspiring stories reflect the great things many are doing in spite of those conditions. While it’s still unknown the level of impact this crisis will have across the higher education landscape long-term, we do know that in the moment many are experiencing hiring freezes and budget cuts or moratoriums. This, of course, affects all aspects of life on campus and beyond, but is most certainly impacting how many are managing, monitoring and remediating increased information security risks. Not to mention handling the increased vulnerabilities associated with further delaying and relying on aging infrastructures and systems that were otherwise due for replacement or upgrade. With these limitations, it is important to ensure you are adapting and prioritizing your information security planning equal to the risk appetite your institution expects.
Looking to the Future
As you reflect on the last few months and look to what lies ahead, it’s important to resist the urge to let this crisis control the narrative of what can be accomplished. Consider using this time of uncertainty as a pivot point and a launching pad to re-envision information security at your institution. In short, in the world of information security and privacy, the standard is still the standard. So whether you are determined to:
• Revisit old service agreements and contracts to ensure compliance;
• Ramp up your user awareness and adopt new policies and procedures; or
• Reprioritize your strategic plans based on lessons learned and a new climate ...
Don’t wait. Soon the technical firefighting spawned from the COVID-19 pandemic will wane, and a new normal will emerge as we return to campus. The sooner we are able to begin adapting from what we have learned, the better our resolve for ensuring we maintain the standard of security those across higher education have come to need and expect.
Brian P. Fodrey is chief information officer for Stevenson University.

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