Page 15 - CT Innovation in Education, July 2021
P. 15

What have you learned in the last year that has been really important to keeping students, staff and faculty secure?
RICK: In March 2020, I was feeling more comfortable in terms of what our border looked like and the things that we were protecting our constituents from. Then the pandemic happened and people started grabbing devices off of their desks and old laptops out of storage closets and dragging them home to put on home networks — and who knows how they were being secured, if they were being secured at all. I thought I had a fairly good plan in place and tools deployed across my infrastructure to protect us, but that was all out the window.
And so, over the last year we’ve been looking at services and products we can deploy that will protect our users as well at home as we could when they were on campus. And there’s nothing like having a community of your peers to have those conversations with and to learn what they’re doing, how long it took them to get there, what bumps they ran into along the way and ultimately, how they were able to steer around those. That’s significantly beneficial to all of us, and that is a huge value of participating with Internet2 overall and through the NET+ program for specific cloud and security solutions.
TOM: Last March, for about the first three weeks — for the only time in Duquesne history — we had the most secure network we ever had and ever will have again in the history of the university — because no one was there. And because of that, the user perspective of risk was gone. We were able
to use our analytics and our posture to understand what was happening on our network, why it was happening and what risks we were seeing that we hadn’t been noticing because of the volume of traffic. And we were able to really identify a lot of risks that we would never have seen in the past and we were able to patch them and remediate them quickly.
Also, we have seen the reliance of third-party integrations go up drastically. I am equally as concerned about how we have to engage with our vendors and constituents the same way we do our own campus. And so now my job is not just to be the CISO for Duquesne; it’s almost to act as the CISO for the 200 or 300 third-parties that we engage with and share institutional private and restricted data with — that we need to treat the same way I do my people on campus and my systems on campus. That is a daunting task for a university.
And NET+ is helping you make that possible?
TOM: The service evaluation effort that we collectively perform helps us bring those products to market faster and more efficiently than we could ever do on our own. And, we do it with a trusted perspective that a number of our peers have all reviewed and assessed. Do we think it will be 100% of the way we would do it? Maybe not, but we could finish that 10% at our own institutions. But that 90% really helps us bring that product to market faster and helps us provide such a valuable service for our community collectively. Without NET+, and the mechanism it provides to deliver services, it would be a lot harder for all of us collectively. It’s invaluable.

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