IT implements new cybersecurity measures

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As you probably know, the number of cybersecurity incidents, especially ransomware, has been skyrocketing for some time. Like most institutions, UNCSA has worked to improve our security on many fronts. Our security is the top priority of information technology, and we constantly balance security against our ability to work with technology as effectively as possible.

One area that has been difficult to secure is allowing users to install software on their university-issued PCs or Macs. This requires administrative rights on the computer, and we have not respected the application of these privileges. Granting these rights exposes us to greater threats, but not granting them makes us potentially less effective. To further complicate the problem, cyber insurance companies require us to restrict administrative rights on local computers, as this is now considered an unsafe practice.

For this reason, we purchased a system that we believe strikes a balance between efficiency and security called Admin By Request. Once deployed, if a UNCSA employee using a university-issued computer needs to install software on their machine, they simply submit a request through that system. The IT department will review the request and, if the software is new to us, we will perform a security check and approve it for installation. Once approved for a user, a future request for the same software will automatically be authorized. For this process to be effective, a user will need to anticipate a need for the software in advance, and IT will need to be responsive when requests are made. Our turnaround time for this approval will be two business days.

Once IT testing is complete, we will move on to testing in at least 2 other departments before rolling out across campus. You will receive a notice before it is deployed to your device, and we do not anticipate any disruption to your daily work.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please contact Nick Johnson at johnsonn@uncsa.edu.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to keep our IT environment secure at UNCSA!

Contact person: Terry Harmon

July 19, 2022

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