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UB: Making strides in cyber security

Published December 15, 2016

By Kenneth Kashif Thomas

According to a recent SUNY survey, UB's digital information is more secure than it’s ever been before.

Kenneth Kashif Thomas (UB Student, Class of 2017) is an Economics major with an interest in Journalism. He is the 2016-17 Senior Features Editor of the UB Spectrum student newspaper.

The annual SUNY Security Survey scores information security among SUNY schools on a scale of 0 to 100. In the past year, UB’s security score jumped to over an 80—marking a variety of key improvements in its information security policies, and representing a major leap in the right direction for information security on campus.

Jeff Murphy, UB’s Interim Information Security Officer, provided some insight into the process of scoring SUNY campuses on cyber security.

"Every year, SUNY surveys all of its campuses to find out what they’re doing with respect to information security," he explains. "Then SUNY compares the different campuses against one another.

"Essentially, it’s a process of benchmarking to see how each school compares to its peers with regards to security, and whether the schools are improving from year to year," Murphy said.

Better implementation, better security

UB’s improvement in information security over the past year is the result of specific, targeted efforts towards better implementation of technologies, like laptop encryption and vulnerability scanning. UB also modified its protocols involving social security numbers, in order to minimize their use and thus better protect them.

But better security isn’t just about technical upgrades and better protocol—it also requires an informed campus community. That’s why UBIT has launched several educational campaigns to spread awareness on information security issues among students, faculty and staff. Such efforts foster an environment conducive to greater security, as people are often the weakest link in cyber security.

A trend of progress

UB’s greatly improved security score represents not just a good year, but rather, it reveals a meaningful trend of progress over time. UB will continue to be vigilant and improve as new security challenges present themselves.