Two Wins for Mason in Governor’s Technology Awards Program

Posted: September 20, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

George Mason won two 2006 Governor’s Technology Awards presented at the Commonwealth of Virginia Information Technology Symposium in Roanoke on Sept. 11. The awards program honors outstanding achievements and recognizes innovative technology initiatives in the public sector throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The first award was in the Creation of the Trusted Environment category, which recognizes “the innovative use of technology to ensure consistent, anywhere, anytime service levels.” Mason received the award for its seven-step approach to safely securing the IT assets of the university while fostering an open environment for teaching, learning and research.

Mason’s security program includes:

  • A “protect and serve” feature that blocks incoming connection attempts to campus network nodes.
  • A distributed firewall system that allows central management of firewalls at strategic locations throughout the campus networks.
  • The MESA project, which provides a secure environment for file storage, print services and desktop management.
  • Network access control that requires wireless users on campus to log in with a valid Mason e-mail account; and provides a separate network with its own authentication process for residence halls.
  • Encryption of sensitive data.
  • Policies, procedures and awareness training for general campus users to systems administrators.

Joy Hughes, Mason’s vice president for information technology and chief information security officer, accepted the award from Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s secretary of technology.

“Building an effective cybersecurity program requires the cooperation and collaboration of many people and groups on campus,” notes Hughes.

“I’m particularly grateful for the departmental security liaisons who do so much to spread the security culture; the systems administrators leadership team; and the privacy and security compliance team, each of which has performed outstanding service in the development of security policies and procedures. I’m also grateful for the people inside the Information Technology Unit who dedicate their talents and energy to securing the systems and networks and building university-wide security awareness.”

The second Governor’s Technology Award was in the Innovation in K-12 Education category, which recognizes the innovative use of technology to provide improved service delivery to Virginia’s schoolchildren.

Mason received this award as part of its participation in the Online Academy, a joint initiative of Frederick County Public Schools, Loudoun County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools and Mason’s College of Education. The Online Academy was cited as “a collaborative and innovative technology initiative to design and deliver comprehensive online courses for Virginia’s high school students.”

Award submissions were evaluated on innovation, access, technological merit, metrics, and success by the members of Virginia’s Council on Technology Services. The council includes representatives of local government, state agencies, the legislature, courts and education.

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