Indiana University Vice President and CIO Brad Wheeler and Internet2 President and CEO David Lambert today announced a $2 million initiative to stimulate collaboration in higher education cybersecurity efforts and to provide leadership on strategic cybersecurity issues nationally and globally.
Speaking at the Internet2 Annual Meeting in Arlington, Virginia, Lambert and Wheeler invited the presidents and CIOs of other colleges and universities to join as investors and sponsors of this initiative. They noted that the higher education sector is unique in having significant cyber activities in research, education and operations. This initiative is intended to stimulate more interaction among these activities to further higher education contributions to national efforts. This new collaboration will immediately launch a national search for an executive director with significant operational experience in cybersecurity in the higher education community.
President Barack Obama highlighted the urgency of the cybersecurity challenge in his 2013 State of the Union address. On the same day, he issued a long-awaited executive order calling for the enhanced sharing of cyber threat information and for the creation and implementation of a Cybersecurity Framework.
"Higher education has a significant responsibility in the fight to secure our nation's cyber infrastructure," said Wheeler. "Universities are intensive users and producers of data, and play a leading role as innovators in the development and deployment of IT. Over the past decade, our historically open networks have been victims of numerous cyber attacks, and universities are targets as staging grounds for cyber attacks. In aggregate, the higher education community possesses the expertise necessary not only to develop technological responses to cyber attacks, but also to innovate ways to make those responses effective, appropriate and practical.
"Besides taking the essential, proactive steps to secure our educational networks and institutions," Wheeler continued, "higher education can provide national leadership by example in providing incentives for the adoption of cyber defenses, addressing the legal and policy issues they raise, making them part of broader risk assessment and management systems, preparing cybersecurity professionals and providing broader education for cyber-savvy citizens. We look forward to the communities' ongoing work with Internet2 and other partners to enhance our capacity as a community to deliver on that promise."