Balancing Security with Innovation
There is rarely a day that passes that you don’t read or hear in the news about someone, somewhere attempting to obtain confidential information from an organization. In fact, President Obama stated during the 2015 cybersecurity summit that “these attacks are getting more and more sophisticated every day. So we’ve got to be just as fast and flexible and nimble in constantly evolving our defenses.”
We, at MSU, are no exception. We block millions of criminal attempts to obtain university data every day. Despite the defensive and precautionary measures we have taken, on November 13 an unauthorized party gained access to a university server containing certain sensitive data. We only have evidence that a small number of records were accessed; however, the database contained a much larger set. Visit msu.edu/datasecurity for more information including details on what has been done, and will continue to be done, to help prevent this in the future.
This event underscores the importance of cyber security to the university and requires our acceleration of IT security projects for key risk areas. While we must continue to run our operations and allow the university to be innovative, our security projects must take a higher priority. Expediting critical initiatives often requires compressed development time with personal commitment by the men and women serving technology roles. This kind of dedication is not new to us. As Spartans we know how to be tenacious. We’ve shown time and time again that no challenge is too big to tackle.
Our perseverance was especially evident when we were called upon to rollout a new electronic health record system. This project to upgrade all clinic networks and devices was completed in less than half the time of traditional installs of the same size. All because MSU came together to accomplish what, at the time, presented itself as a seemingly insurmountable challenge. The complexity, impact to medical professionals and patient care, and the compelling reasons to execute in a very short time cannot be understated. The collaboration from everyone on the cross functional team – not just IT, not medical professionals alone – delivered the results. A testament that we can and will address the security challenges before us while delivering on the operational needs of the campus community with innovative solutions.
- Michigan State University educates the campus community on ways to protect their personal information and devices and how to mitigate cyber threats with the SecureIT campaign. Read more at secureit.msu.edu/
- National Cyber Security Alliance at staysafeonline.org/
- FBI’s cybercrime initiatives at fbi.gov/investigate/cyber
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity topics at dhs.gov/topic/cybersecurity
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