The concept that IT should be a strategic element of most any organization these days has been the talk of the town in recent years. Granted, we mostly hear advocacy for that position coming from the IT camp but slowly the “business” side of the house is catching on and we are all developing ways to bridge the language barrier between technical professionals and executive, financial, or practitioner functions of a business. For example, we are seeing researchers at Universities and in Healthcare become much more involved with IT to solve new application and collaboration requirements. We see teachers working with IT to marry the pedagogy of a classroom with new and innovative technological teaching tools. The idea that IT as a service bureau that “just has to work” is now well recognized as short sited. Still, the methodology of truly communicating IT value to an institution is still a work in progress. It takes the reality of a researcher who needs a download of a petabyte size file from Chicago and can’t sacrifice an entire day for it to complete. Or the abundance of data analytics now emerging to show measurable improvement in healthcare outcomes when HIE records are online and accessible. I would expect that most people reading this have a sense for how far their individual organization has come with this particular evolution.
But never before has the requirement for IT to be present at the highest levels of institutional management, policy and strategy been as apparent as it now is with the emergence of cybersecurity threats. Just when we thought we were getting good at figuring out how to justify an expense for a disaster recovery architecture, along comes the world of Denial of Service attacks and data breach. I am always intrigued by topics like this that have so much depth. Cybersecurity tentacles reach every corner of an organization and touch on deep subjects such as privacy, freedom, authority and responsibility. One cannot address the techniques for prevention without addressing the policies that need to be created which govern use. Who decides the level of restriction placed on a doctor or professor balanced against their need for open collaboration? IT departments alone cannot and should not be dictating these policies. It is yet another and probably the most compelling reason today for IT to be at the strategic level of collaboration at the highest levels of our member institutions.
This week OSHEAN and Bryant University are hosting a Cybersecurity day which was sold out almost 2 months ahead of time. Over 200 professionals will spend the day hearing from experts in cyber policy, threat analysis, forensics and prevention and mitigation technologies. We are also releasing a special Cybersecurity edition of the eCurrent, our digital magazine at oshean.org. Again, this is a very deep subject and one we expect will become part of the fabric of the OSHEAN member collaboration for years to come.