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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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University makes strides in IT security

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 22, 2007) -- Ohio University has made great strides toward a state-of-the-art IT security system. State Auditor Mary Taylor today released an Ohio University 2005-2006 financial audit that had been completed in October and accepted by the Ohio University Board of Trustees in its October meeting. Since July, the university has made substantial improvements toward the recommendations that the auditor stated in conjunction with the audit release. Improvements include:

Dramatic improvements to firewall security:  Two layers of firewall protection that did not previously exist have been added to our system to protect against Internet-borne threats.

  • 1. A perimeter firewall was installed and went online in October and has been in full operation since December. On an average day, the firewall blocks more than 4,000 attacks.
  • 2. A highly sophisticated intrusion prevention system also has been deployed that can differentiate attacks from otherwise acceptable traffic. This is an emerging technology that most organizations have not yet implemented.

Extensive reduction in use of social security numbers: In the areas where data breeches occurred, social security numbers are either removed or encrypted.  Beyond that, the IT team has pulled the numbers off hundreds of other systems.

A new centralized office and security analysts: The university established a centralized Information Security Office under the CIO, hired an interim Chief Information Security Officer and added another security analyst. Within weeks we will have another security analyst. An interim CIO is in place, and today we complete interviews with the third of three qualified candidates for the permanent CIO position.

The audit report itself states: "With many eyes on its response, the University has taken ownership of those issues and is working diligently to address the IT issues and to make good come out of those 'teachable moments' for our students." Ohio University is committed to a multiyear strategy for creating a strong, secure IT system. It created a 20-point blueprint (www.ohio.edu/outlook/05-06/July/611-056a.cfm), developed in cooperation with a leading expert in the field, the Gartner Group (www.gartner.com).

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Media Contact:Acting Senior Director of Media Relations Sally Linder , (740) 597-1793 or linders@ohio.edu

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