UB's leadership in securing private data

Medical students and professor posing in front of a screen showing an X-Ray of a shoulder.

Published January 22, 2018

UB is playing a leading role in the region’s “transformation into a national health sciences hub.” With that role comes new challenges and opportunities in how we manage and secure the data driving our research and clinical practice.

As individuals, we’re aware of the challenges in protecting private data; this year, several high-profile security breaches left hundreds of millions vulnerable. In response, federal and state governments are expanding rules for how both public and private institutions handle data of all kinds—including legislation recently introduced in the New York State Legislature.

At UB, protected Information governed by HIPAA, FERPA and other privacy laws are an important part, but by no means the entirety, of the data governed by these regulations. We’ve developed enhanced policies to make UB more legally and technologically secure in a changing regulatory atmosphere, while supporting those who need easy access to that data for their work.

To meet that challenge, we’ve been working closely with UB faculty and staff. Input from departmental support staff and decanal leadership helped us craft sensible policy informed by the needs of UB’s diverse schools and departments. We also engaged the Faculty Senate IT Subcommittee, the members of which contributed their valuable time on multiple occasions to review these requirements and provide candid, open feedback resulting in policies that are clearer and more approachable to the people who need this information most.

These IT policies give individuals the tools and knowledge to work securely and in good faith with the regulatory demands on the university, but we know they are likely to change in the near future. UB will always take a thoughtful and deliberate collaborative approach to the evolving challenges of data security.

I encourage UB’s faculty and staff to review the updated data security policies on the UBIT website, and contact IT staff with any questions. I’m always available in my capacity as UB’s Vice President and Chief Information Officer to speak with you as well, one-on-one and in departmental discussions.

IT support for data security across UB has been, and continues to be, exceptional. Our IT professionals are some of the most talented people in the industry, and our work will continue to focus on providing essential tools that enable and support the important work of our faculty who bolster UB’s role in the region, the nation and the world.

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