After the talk, in the Q&A portion, I was asked about the move to the “cloud” that Oswego, as well as most Universities and indeed most of the IT industry is making. When Technology people refer to the “cloud”, they are referring to services that are delivered by an off-campus vendor or partner. Examples of use of the cloud are Oswego’s move to Google Apps (referred to as LakerApps on campus) and working with companies like Starfish to implement an early alert system to assist students who are at risk of failing. Concerns on all campuses are of the effect that moving into the cloud has on the Privacy and Security of our data.
It is an important topic and I am happy that we have explored that issue over the last semester at a Campus Technology Advisory Board (CTAB) meeting in October and a Information Technology Committee (ITC) meeting in November. The strategy that we have utilized at Oswego to deal with the risks around moving to the cloud have centred on:
- utilizing contracts with our vendors to ensure they are using safe and responsible security practices and meeting the terms of the agreement
- responsibly using applications like GoogleApps – our contract specifies the services that we can use with Google under the contract (i.e. Mail, Calendar, Drive, Sites and Contracts) and which ones we can not (i.e. YouTube)
- and developing partnerships with our vendors such as Starfish to enable they are utilizing our data appropriately to help us reach our goals of helping more students to graduate.
This is a particularly important conversation to have as we approach Data Privacy Day, January 28, 2013. Data Privacy and security is a shared responsibility of everyone on campus. Ways that you can ensure that you protect your data and privacy are:
- Be suspicious of data phishing emails. Be assured CTS will not ask for your username and password through email, and reputable firms will not as well. There are some sophisticated phishing attacks out there, but if you are suspicious err on the side of security.
- Keep your passwords safe and secure, do not give them out to anyone.
- When you are working with confidential and private data, ensure that it is always kept in a safe place. In data terms, that means that it is on a secure system behind appropriate passwords, i.e., your smartphone should always have a password if you are accessing your mail on it.
And finally thanks to Professor Kelly Roe’s Graphics Arts class for the work they did on imagining a CTS logo and creating a new Facebook personna for the CTS facebook page. Congratulations to Mark Hanna, Samantha McCarthy, Hannah Joy, Alaina Dethier, Elijah Vary and Kristy Benicase for having their work selected to be the CTS Facebook page banner. Go to our page at https://www.facebook.com/
Chief Technology Officer, Campus Technology Services