Author Archives: Ben Woelk

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Guide Dogs and Information Security: Raising Them to Enable

Category:Higher Education,Information Security,Infosec Communicator,Leadchange,Uncategorized Tags : 

My thoughts on another challenge facing infosec offices in higher education. It reflects my thoughts, and not necessarily those of my employer.

We had the privilege of being puppy raisers for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that provides assistance dogs for the visually impaired. Our role was to help the puppy become a mature adult who was able to fulfill his role as an enabler. Yes, it’s a stretch, but it’s also what an Information Security Officer does when “raising” an information security program. A mature information security program becomes an enabler for the business and users it supports. A mature guide dog enables the user it supports to go about his or her daily business. (And no, I’m not going to try to keep drawing parallels between the two experiences!)

In a university setting, maturing a security program and successfully accomplishing initiatives depends on cooperation and collaboration. In my experience, there is very little that can be mandated, unless required for legal compliance; even then, there may be significant resistance. Understanding the business needs of an institution will enable the Information Security Office to set the best balance between security strategies and other priorities at the campus level; thus, opening doors to acceptance of security initiatives.

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Infosec Strategies: Creating Centralized Efficiencies in a Decentralized IT Environment

Category:Higher Education,Information Security,Infosec Communicator,Leadchange,Risk,Uncategorized Tags : 

Information Security Wordle: RFC2196 - Site Se...

My thoughts on one of the challenges facing infosec offices in higher education. It reflects my thoughts, and not necessarily those of my employer.

The institutional challenge of creating centralized cost-effective efficiencies in an environment with a strong tradition of localized, decentralized IT solutions and personnel is normative in higher education.

An Information Security Office can create centralized efficiencies by:

  • Modeling an effective centralized service organization that is responsive to the individual needs of specific departments. (One way to accomplish this is by regular meetings with stakeholders to ensure that the Information Security Office can enable their business, rather than create barriers with unreasonable requirements.)
  • Providing centralized security services such as vulnerability scanning of web and servers and security reviews of proposed solutions.
  • Managing compliance initiatives such as private information remediation centrally, leveraging an extended team composed of empowered college and division representatives.
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