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California Community Colleges Information Security CenterAll higher education institutions must be fully prepared and equipped for the possibility of security breaches. The California Community Colleges (CCC) Information Security Center is working to spread that message.

A report recently published by BitSight Technologies, a securities ranking company, noted that many higher education institutions are at a greater risk to malware attacks and other common types of security breaches than the retail and healthcare sectors.

According to the report, “university cybersecurity is a complex game that involves juggling a high volume of open network access points, diverse technology needs, multiple compliance and regulatory measures, and the protection of high value information, such as student and faculty data or even sensitive intellectual property.”

The BitSight report analyzed the security performance of the most well-recognized collegiate athletic conferences in the country and discovered that, unlike big business with typically large IT staffs that can manage access points, “security teams at schools are often left playing catch up.”

Overall, data security and privacy have become recognized as important issues affecting all Americans, as noted by President Obama in his recent State of the Union address. “We are making sure our government integrated intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism,” the President said.

Facilitating Systemwide Security Initiatives

The CCC Information Security Center, hosted by Butte College, facilitates and coordinates the work of the systemwide information security initiatives. In addition to furthering CCC information security initiatives, the Security Center offers services to CCC campuses, including vulnerability assessment scanning and service monitoring. In short, the Security Center works directly with the technology community across the state to get a better understanding of CCC system priorities in order to develop appropriate information security services.

"We are working to improve the security posture of the CCC system as a whole,” explained Jeff Holden, the Security Center’s Chief Information Security Officer. “We have sample template policies, procedures, and a security standard that can help kick start a college's information security program.

“We also offer user-awareness training for all faculty and staff in the CCC system to make them aware of the security challenges they can help prevent, such as phishing and malware attacks,” Holden continued. “Finally, we have security services that CCC IT departments can take advantage of such as vulnerability assessment.

For more information about the Security Center, please visit http://cccsecuritycenter.org/.


Sandoval Chagoya is the Communications Director for the
California Community Colleges Technology Center at Butte College.