OU boosts IT security

OU boosts IT security
OU boosts IT security

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By David Hendricks
Staff Writer
September 28, 2007

Ohio University is trying to turn negative media attention over its 
computer security problems into an opportunity for change, said its 
chief information officer.

CIO Brice Bible said that his office, which a consultant reported last 
spring was historically underfunded and understaffed, has made immediate 
fixes and is preparing a long-term plan.

Security improvements, proactive hiring for vacant positions, a status 
update on the university=E2=80=99s crackdown on file-sharing and proposed 
infrastructure upgrades are part of a five-year plan Bible outlined to 
university trustees at the Academics Committee meeting yesterday.

OU=E2=80=99s Hudson Health Center, which was forced to revert to a paper 
record-keeping system after one of its servers was hacked into last 
year, went back online earlier this month.

Office of Information Technology staff configured and installed six new 
firewalls to protect the university=E2=80=99s data center. Computers that store 
sensitive data will receive additional firewalls of their own, according 
to a packet distributed to board members.

During the summer, OIT stopped routinely using Social Security numbers =E2=80=94 
a key piece of information for identity thieves =E2=80=94 at Alden Library and 
Ping Center. It also replaced university ID cards, which contained 
unencrypted SSNs and student names.

Bible hired a new director of Information Security, who began work this 
month and expanded the university=E2=80=99s security team to five members.

Though he said his hiring plan is behind schedule, Bible expects to fill 
eight more critical positions before the end of the year. Those include 
a director of Systems and Operations, firewall administrators, a 
security analyst and director of Customer Services.

=E2=80=9CIf you followed the traditional way of recruiting =E2=80=A6 it=E2=80=99s very hit or 
miss,=E2=80=9D Bible said, adding that he=E2=80=99s tried to be proactive about filling 
open positions through a contract with job search Web site and by meeting with job candidates at higher education 

Bible=E2=80=99s presentation also included plans to upgrade the speed and 
reliability of the university network by replacing outdated hardware. 
OIT will also review its data center=E2=80=99s heating, cooling and electrical 
systems, according to a packet distributed to board members.

After his presentation to the committee, Bible spoke about the 
university=E2=80=99s crackdown on file-sharing.

The Recording Industry Association of America announced in February that 
it had sent more file- sharing complaints to OU than any other 
university in the nation. It followed up in Winter and Spring Quarters 
by identifying 100 computers on the OU network that were sharing music 
and threatened to sue their owners.

The university responded by reiterating its stance against illegal 
file-sharing and purchased software to identify file-sharers on its 

Bible said that last week he was contacted by an RIAA representative who 
sought to use OU as an example of how to deal with piracy. Bible said 
the woman told him that if a similar list were released today OU 
wouldn=E2=80=99t place in the top 100 schools, but the list was still =E2=80=9Cvery 

The RIAA confirmed that it had contacted OU and said it would release an 
official list of top recipients of piracy notifications later this year.

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