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Sneak Peek: Reaping the Benefits of Peer Assessment to Enhance Institutional IT Security at Upcoming Global Summit 2019

Feb 14, 2019, by Sara Aly
Tags: 2019 Internet2 Global Summit, Frontpage News, Higher Education, Security

By Mark Bruhn, Indiana University; Sue Workman, Case Western Reserve University; Brian Nichols, University of Kentucky; and Brian Voss, Brian D. Voss and Associates.

We live in an age of data and IT infrastructure vulnerability. This comes as no revelation to CIOs, CISOs, and the IT research and education networking community members attending the 2019 Internet2 Global Summit (GS19) next month. But it is a message that needs to be repeated over and again, to ensure that our institution leaders (presidents, provosts, cabinets, boards, etc.) truly grasp the risk involved in this vulnerability, and take actions to mitigate and prepare response to that inevitability.

As a background for our upcoming session at GS19, we encourage you to read the interview on this topic, The Sound of Inevitability, published in the EDUCAUSE Review Online last September. Within, Brians Voss & Nichols touch on a great many relevant points describing the intersection of enterprise risk management efforts and more targeted opportunities for finding and addressing vulnerabilities by the IT Security function.

The REN-ISAC is well known to GS19 attendees; it is an organization that links up IT security professionals from over 600 institutions, providing the proverbial village that our campus IT security teams can leverage. What may be less well known is that the REN-ISAC offers a peer-assessment service, which will put ‘boots on the ground’ on campus, bringing in experienced peers from our higher education IT community to be those additional ‘eyes on the jewels’ that Nichols references in his interview.  

The session will feature experienced CIOs – University of Kentucky’s Brian Nichols, Sue Workman of Case Western Reserve University, former CIO Brian Voss acting as panel moderator – and Mark Bruhn of the REN-ISAC. It will delve into the broader topic of IT security challenges, but will more specifically illuminate the value of peer assessments.  These detailed assessments of vulnerabilities, and recommendations for actions to address and mitigate them, are based upon insights of people who truly understand higher education environments – higher education professionals (i.e., our comrades in arms)!

We will describe our experiences with the REN-ISAC peer assessment service and detail the value it added to our respective institution’s efforts to better address vulnerabilities (physical, technical, and policy-based). We will also discuss plans for making the service more broadly based and widely available to interested attendees in the coming months and years.

Join us for this session on March 8 at 8:45 a.m., and come prepared with any questions you may have as we hope to have a lively, engaged audience discussion!