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29 March 2010 | PR 10/62

Loughborough nets over £0.5m to keep academic institutions secure

Loughborough University has received more than £500,000 funding to host a shared information security service for schools, colleges and Universities across the UK until at least July 2013.

The University’s IT team has secured £465,000 from EMMAN Ltd and £150,000 from education funding body HEFCE to continue its successful ESISS project.

Part of the East Midland Metropolitan Area Network (EMMAN), which provides connectivity to the Internet and UK education and research network JANET for education institutions across the region, ESISS (EMMAN Shared Information Security Service) is the first HEFCE-funded pilot shared service initiative to go live after Loughborough won the original contract through competitive tender last April.

ESISS was initially selected from around 65 feasibility studies funded by HEFCE and is one of just two to enter the pilot stage. Of those two, ESISS was the first pilot to go live in early January this year.

Paddy Walker of HEFCE’s Shared Services Team is delighted with the project’s success so far.

“We are really pleased that ESISS has already delivered some outstanding results and has traction in the sector, particularly as it is the first HEFCE funded shared service pilot to go live,” he said.

ESISS provides a complete portfolio of information security services to the UK academic sector, and is designed to reduce the risk of significant information security breaches and the associated costs of prevention, management, remediation and audit activities.

Managed by the University’s IT services team, the project was secured and is overseen by network and security manager Matthew Cook, who has been an invited international conference speaker at over 50 events and worked with large companies like HP and Cisco on a number of high profile security vulnerabilities.

Loughborough’s information security specialists Paul Whitton and Mohamed Imran provide both the subscription and ad-hoc consultancy services.

“We are delighted to see this pilot through gestation to a production service, recognising the hard work and internationally recognised expertise within the University,” said Head of ESISS Matthew Cook.

“Running the service nationally at a time when institutions are being encouraged to look at utilising shared services as part of institutional efficiency, brings a high level of prestige for Loughborough.”

An innovative reputational dashboard component was developed during the pilot phase in 2009, which is available on subscription and provides an overview of an organisation’s reputation across multiple facets of internet technology.

The innovative social media monitoring solution checks over 30 different internet areas with more planned for the future. It combines marketing analytics and technical tests across sites including Google, Twitter, Facebook, WhatUni, TheStudentRoom and GraduateJobsForum.

The reputation dashboard can also support academic research by providing a quantitative assessment of an organisation’s reputation on the internet compared to multiple peers in a particular sector. This provides an opportunity to model changes in the information security posture of a business over time using both technical and new media data.

“For a long time institutions have used subscription searches on traditional media to establish reputation. The ESISS reputation dashboard moves this technology firmly into the new generation of media,” explained Matthew. “Providing a reputation overview, marketing analytics, technical tests and supporting academic research, we can only see this system growing and growing with demand.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T :01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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