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Information security initiative begins rollout

Incidents involving the compromise of protected information have become increasingly high-profile issues for universities across the country. Provost Richard Lariviere charged a universitywide group with developing a comprehensive information management program intended to promote security, facilitate appropriate access and provide reliable preservation of the university's information and data resources.

Early outcomes of the program are now being presented to the university community. The information management Web site contains guidelines and helpful information on how to protect and preserve the university's information assets. The site, infomanagement/, includes information on record management, roles and responsibilities of data stewards, resources and tools, a glossary of terms and a frequently asked questions section.

"We really see this Web site as the source for information management, so please check it regularly," Denise Stephens, vice provost for Information Services, emphasized at a recent session outlining the new initiative to KU information stewards. "All of us share a collective duty for properly handling and safeguarding KU's information, and we need to understand how to effectively carry out that responsibility."

The Web site is merely the beginning of the initiative. With the advice and guidance of the newly formed Information Management Council, a campus-wide information management training curriculum will be provided for all KU staff and faculty. It is also creating tools to support the program, such as guidelines for data classification and security, and a guide for how long certain types of information should be retained. Stephens said the council should have a draft of the guidelines this spring and will review them with the campus community before they are finalized.

The training curriculum will be implemented in two phases, based on employee roles. The first will be new employee training, beginning this semester. Within the year, the second phase, for existing employees, will be rolled out. There will also be training tailored specifically to employee duties. For example, staff that work with the payment card industry will be expected to attend training on the topic. Refresher training will also be required approximately every three years.

The council will help identify and create appropriate policies and guidelines. Stephens stressed that the information program is not intended as a means for administrators to watch over faculty and staff, but to help employees manage information safely and help prevent sensitive information from being compromised.

"This program exists to provide you with resources, tools and the knowledge you need," Stephens said at the session.

The development of the program will be ongoing, likely taking about two years to fully implement. Stephens urged anyone with questions on information security to ask immediately. Questions can be e-mailed to, or employees can call information management's customer service line at 864-8080.

Though the program is in development, there are resources in existence to help protect information. Departments or research units can purchase data storage and backup support services. The service can provide secure data storage and rapid storage expansion capabilities.

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