Central Michigan University's Office of Information Technology is hiring a chief information security officer to deal with increasingly sophisticated and pervasive threats from hackers.
The position is the first step in expanding measures to address the threat of data breaches and stolen information as well as network attacks and widespread viruses.
Such efforts are critical given the university's use of technology for daily operations and the increasing volume of data used by faculty and student researchers across the university, said Roger Rehm, vice president for information technology.
CMU also has protected health information in its medical clinics, autism center, and the Carls Center's speech-language, audiology, physical therapy, psychology, and fall and balance clinics.
"The increasingly interconnected nature of society puts us as at greater risk — just like banks and insurance companies," Rehm said. "The more research we do, the more care we deliver, the more vulnerable we are."
"A breach that results in stolen information puts people at personal risk and can result in massive fines. A virus or cyberattack could bring teaching and learning to a halt. Ask Rutgers or Arizona State, both of which were attacked this spring just before exams," he said.
Once the chief information security officer is hired, further actions will include an in-depth review and overhaul of processes and controls protecting CMU's medical and clinical operations, increased IT security training and awareness across the university, and an expansion of technical controls.