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Network connection agreement further improves U security

By Emily Rushton

After weeks of writing, revising, and polishing, the University of Utah now has an official network connection agreement in place for all departments thanks to the collaborative effort of IT Professionals across campus, along with the approval of both IT governance committees.

The network connection agreement – which will evolve over time – is a partnership agreement between all those who maintain, operate, and manage the University network. It will help reduce security risk that was identified in the Deloitte assessment by establishing the rules, responsibilities, and practices that should be followed when engaging with the network. 

“The agreement doesn’t limit our ability to provide service to our customers, but instead gives us the rules we all follow to better provide a consistent and more secure experience for our customers,” said Chief Technology Officer Jim Livingston. 

“When we’re all following the same rules, which align to security and operational best practices, we provide a much more secure network and more consistent experience for users of the network,” he added.

Jim Livingston, Chief Technology Officer

 Jim Livingston, Chief
Technology Officer

Perhaps most importantly, the new agreement will provide better visibility into the network and allow the Information Security Office (ISO) to scan for vulnerabilities, which in turn will help quickly address security issues as they arise.

Using a network connection agreement to reduce risk is a common approach, and most universities across the nation have something similar in place.

“We looked at what other universities are doing, and a network connection agreement is a good place to start to establish rules, responsibilities, and practices for connecting to and managing the network,” said Livingston.

While the hope is to have a standard agreement that applies to most use cases, Livingston says he does understand some people or departments have unique circumstances that will need to be accommodated.

“For those areas, we’ll do a modified MOU [memorandum of understanding] to accommodate those differences,” he said.

Livingston walked through the numerous sections of the agreement and explained each one in detail during the September IT Professionals meeting. Watch the video:

Last Updated: 5/30/17