University of Wisconsin–Madison
Madison skyline over Monona Terrace with Cybersecurity Forward shield logo.

Key Players In Cybersecurity Initiatives Honored at Cybersecurity Awareness Month Event

  • Putting on a vibrant Cybersecurity Forward informational series, with a quick pivot from an in-person event to a virtual format.

  • Getting our arms around the sheer volume of IT infrastructure and systems (“IT assets”) used by students, staff, faculty and researchers across the university.

  • Developing plans and procedures for the handling of data classified as “high risk.”

  • Leading a campus review of UW System Administration’s vulnerability management policy and standards.

For their wide-ranging efforts to protect UW–Madison’s cyberspace and take proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity, 10 university employees were honored last week by the Office of Cybersecurity with Cybersecurity Forward 2020 certificates of recognition.

The awards were presented during an October 26 Cybersecurity Awareness Month panel session featuring leaders from the UW–Madison Division of Information Technology (DoIT) and the Office of Cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity Forward Honorees

Laurel Belman, an event planner with the DoIT Communications Team, was recognized for providing exceptional technical support for the Cybersecurity Forward series of Webex presentations, initially planned as an in-person conference before COVID-19 changed the event’s format.

Mickey Nash, cybersecurity education and awareness analyst with the Office of Cybersecurity, was honored for her role in running Cybersecurity Forward, from reviewing speaker proposals to scheduling the presenters, who covered topics including managing vendor cyber risk, how to work remotely and securely, and what to do when you’ve been hit by a cyber attack.

Justin Masuga, senior visual designer and lead photographer with DoIT Communications, created a new Cybersecurity Forward shield logo (shown in the banner above), which the Office of Cybersecurity lauded for capturing both the event’s mission and the drive to move security practices forward.

High-Risk Data Handling Honorees

Alan Ng from the Division of Continuing Studies and Austin McKinney from the Office of Data Management & Analytics, co-leads for Data Management initiative, were honored for their team’s efforts to develop and formalize procedures for the handling of data classified as “High Risk” by the UW System data classification policy.

The work is part of a UW System initiative that includes a two-year work plan to bring all campuses in alignment around several components of cybersecurity.

Ng and McKinney’s team was tasked with going through all the requirements set forth by the UW System, helping to guide the approach to understanding where high-risk data is housed on campus and how we can identify it, Chief Information Security Officer Bob Turner explained in honoring Ng and McKinney.

IT Asset Management Inventory Honorees

Tadd Smejkal and Victor Ponelis with DoIT’s Systems Engineering & Operations team; Jason Pursian from the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences; and Shawn Gelo from the School of Nursing were recognized for their work on the Information Technology Asset Reporting Project.

The initiative recognizes that the university has made, and continues to make, considerable investments in its IT infrastructure and systems—and these numerous “IT assets” store, process and transfer information that’s often sensitive in nature. In support of UW–Madison’s Strategic Framework, the asset reporting project strives to have each university division, unit or college report the inventory of their IT assets on a regular basis.

Anticipated benefits of such a comprehensive inventory include the ability to make more informed business decisions, fostering more effective license management, improving lifecycle management for the technologies we use, and reducing cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Management Honoree

Library Systems Administrator Peter Boguszewski was honored for his work co-chairing the campus review of UW System Administration’s vulnerability management policy and standards. Turner noted that Boguszewski played a key role in assisting and recruiting additional team members for the effort, as well as helping guide the project charter through its creation.

The end result, Turner said, is a detailed document that “set a great pace for understanding how to do vulnerability management” within the university’s complex and diverse technological environment.

Lauding University-Wide Cybersecurity Vigilance

Chief Information Officer and Vice Provost for Information Technology Lois Brooks and Deputy Chief Information Officer Dave Pagenkopf were on hand to congratulate and thank the honorees for their efforts and expertise. And in addition to lauding the Cybersecurity Forward 2020 honorees, leaders on the panel also acknowledged the many ongoing, wide-ranging efforts to safeguard the security of information technology across campus.

“The Office of Cybersecurity always appreciates the assistance of the community,” Turner said, acknowledging IT partners across campus, those who attend the UW–Madison Information Security Team meetings (MIST), those who support IT policy development, and those who are actively involved in securing their part of the university.

“You will always be very special to the Office of Cybersecurity,” Turner said. “And you will always be welcome at any of our discussions on how to do this better.”