#CyberFLASH: How a Canadian university is overhauling its approach to IT security

GettyImages-556421117The day an organization is successfully attacked is memorable for most IT professionals. David Shipley has no trouble remembering the date of the one he faced as a Web site administrator at the University of New Brunswick.

“Mother’s Day 2012,” he promptly says when asked about the incident. The attackers didn’t get very much, but it led to the start of a four-part holistic overhaul of the university’s IT security, an effort which is half way to completion.

“By the end of this we’ll be much-better positioned to deal with the threats we face,” says Shipley, now director of strategic initiatives for the UNB’s cybersecurity team.

The four prongs include a persistent security awareness campaign for the roughly 14,000 students and staff on two campuses; a data governance program to classify all documents; an overhaul of the network and security architecture and a new IT security policy.

The network overhaul is a multi-year project which started last summer. Recently the university put out an RFI to industry vendors for designing what Shipley calls a “next-generation architecture.” He suspects first product acquisitions of what could be up to a $2 million spend will start this spring after the design is approved.

Meanwhile the security policy, which will covers UNB’s approach to protecting information and information systems and it how will respond to cyber security incidents, is in the final draft stage.

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