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The Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing and Networking (VASCAN) exists for the purpose of strengthening information technology security programs within the Commonwealth of Virginia.


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Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing & Networking (VA SCAN)

As higher education institutions struggle to cope with new challenges under tight resource constraints, interinstitutional collaboration is emerging as an increasingly strategic approach. IT leaders at four institutions—George Mason University, James Madison University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech—have joined together to bolster the state’s defenses against network security problems. In an excellent example of sharing best practices, tools, and personnel, the alliance brings together Virginia higher education security practitioners, who have developed and maintain widely emulated operational security programs, with researchers responsible for creating cyber security instruction and research programs that are nationally recognized for excellence. In addition to the four founding universities, VA SCAN includes security researchers from the Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance (JMU), the Center for Secure Information Systems (GMU), and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Project (GMU/JMU). The goals of the alliance are to:

  1. help avoid costs associated with security breaches
  2. save security program development time
  3. reduce security training costs
  4. take advantage of economies of scale

Services include educating staff about digital security and ways to minimize threats, providing IT security training and consultation, and maintaining Web-based security-enhancing tools. Alliance members maintain an “ask-the-expert e-mail service, a moderated mail list for general security discussions, and a specialized mail list providing security alerts. Among the Web-based resources are a self-assessment checklist, materials with which to conduct user and technical training, and links to other resources. All services are offered free or on a cost-recovery basis, and are not limited to members of the alliance. According to the award selection committee, “This alliance offers a model for resource sharing and collaborative problem solving and clearly addresses a critical issue with foresight and pragmatism.

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© 2020 Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing and Networking (VASCAN)
Web Publisher: James Madison University.