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National Campus Safety and Security Conference Observes That Attention to Cyber Disruptions Inadequate

The 2009 National Campus Safety and Security Conference, hosted by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, was held on June 27th in Boston, Massachusetts. The conference provided some insights into the outcomes of the project which is supported by EDUCAUSE and other higher education associations.

Although the survey results showed that over 97% of campus Emergency Preparedness Plans cover "Acts of Violence" and "Natural Disasters", only 75.6% address "Pandemics" and 51.9% address "Cyber Disruptions". "Colleges and universities must move to address the impact of cybersecurity and the possibility for Internet outages," remarked Rodney Petersen, interim head of the EDUCAUSE Washington Office and member of the project's Steering Committee. "The need for an all-hazards approach to campus emergency preparedness is reinforced by the risk management framework established by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan that calls for the protection of Cyber Assets along with Human Assets and Physical Assets." Petersen also observed that President Obama's recenty Cyber Policy Review stressed the importance of cybersecurity as part of our overall efforts to improve national security and economic security.

The survey results include several references to the role of communications and information technology in support of emergency preparedness. Respondents to the survey identified "Computing/Telecommunications" as the number three priority service needed to be operational in the aftermath of an emergency, closely following Public Safety/Campus Police and the Physical Plant.

The Conference also featured highlights from the EDUCAUSE Summit on The Role of IT in Campus Security and Emergency Preparedness held in August 2008.