Cybersecurity focus of new IT initiative

October 26, 2018
Alex Colletta
cybersecure tabling

Students do “tabling” in Alliot last week to promote cybersecurity in the Saint Michael’s community. (photo Alex Colletta ’18)

In what is becoming an annual tradition, the Saint Michael’s College Department of Information Technology (IT) emphasized the importance of cybersecurity this past week.  Programming and events around campus emphasized education and awareness, including tabling in the Alliot Hall lobby outisde the dining hall where the community was encouraged to sign a pledge, test the validity of their passwords, and leave with stickers and resources that remind them of the importance of cybersecurity.

October is recognized as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month through the Department of Homeland Security and a popular website that helps provide resources and education can be found here: https://www.stopthinkconnect.org/.

Kellie Campbell, a director in the College’s Information Technology office, said, “…the most effective way we can support our community is through education.  We can put all of the technical solutions in place we want, but at the end of the day, the most important tool is our campus community members understanding they own their online identity and play a part in keeping themselves (and the college) safe and secure.  The best way we can do that is to educate and partner.  We hope this past week supported that effort.”

Throughout October, IT staff shared daily facts and posts emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity and the fact all own the responsibility of our safety online. The department also implemented a security message on incoming emails from external senders for all students, faculty and staff during the last week of the month in order to raise awareness around phishing attacks and scam emails.

As October comes to a close, the IT Department would like to thank the community for attendance and pledging. More than 200 visitors signed pledges to be cybersecure and those pledges will be posted in the IT Helpdesk in St. Edmunds Hall to continue the awareness.  Joe Pawlaczyk, associate director of data center, quantified the threat: “There are over 40,000 threats/day to our campus community and we catch over 1.2 million spam emails every month,” he said.

The work continues and the department staff want to emphasize their commitment to partnering and supporting the community.  Reach out, ask questions, and send any suspicious emails or communications to ithelp@smcvt.edu, or call us at 802-654-2020.

Follow us on social.