Spotlight on Cybersecurity

Alex Vaystikh is a cybersecurity expert with several years of experience in analyzing security holes and breaches for large organizations. With his new company SecBI, Alex seeks to automate all of the steps and processes involved in intrusion analysis. Here are a few of his thoughts on keeping a large college or university network safe.

Q. How is handling cybersecurity for a college or university different than securing an everyday network?

A. Colleges and universities have lots of data, especially student data. Since they are large organizations, there are often gaps that leave their networks vulnerable to attack. It is very important to explore these gaps and plan for ways to minimize them, if not totally get rid of them.

Q. What are some of the most important things to think about when trying to keep your college or university’s network safe?

A. First, identify what matters. What do you want to protect against? This will let you know how best to do it and create a policy. Once the policy is determined, monitor it closely to make sure it is kept in place and followed. Analyze and compare data before and after it is in place, look for anomalies.

Q. What is important for campus IT employees and CIOs to keep in mind when it comes to securing their student information and assets?

A. Focus on your network. You will have a hard time controlling the endpoints on a college campus, but you can control what happens with your networks. Research what is going on with the networks and monitor events closely. If something seems off, look into why. Research any questions you have about an incident and make sure to make a decision based on reliable data around it. After any kind of intrusion, play 20 questions and explore it from different angles. Connecting the dots as to what happened is one way to secure the network and lessen the chance it will happen again.