Charter for the Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing and Networking (VASCAN)

The VASCAN Purpose and Vision

The Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing and Networking (VASCAN) exists for the purpose of strengthening information technology security programs within the Commonwealth of Virginia and supporting strategic Commonwealth objectives. The Alliance was formed in response to the Governor’s 2002 charge to Virginia Higher Education to help the state meet cybersecurity goals outlined in the Commonwealth of Virginia IT Strategic Plan. It continues to be positioned to support strategic Commonwealth priorities, such as the SCHEV Commonwealth Research and Technology Strategic Plan, the Virginia Research Investment Committee, and Commonwealth Cyber Initiative by facilitating collaborative dialogue and efforts between the public higher education institutions.

The unique value of the VASCAN to Higher Education lies in the ability to share information in a trusted “non-disclosure” environment where participating schools are able to gain insights and valuable action items that inform their local information security programs.

The VASCAN benefits and aspires to benefit the Commonwealth by:

  • Leveraging existing expertise to communicate and facilitate the use of field-proven security tools, practices, and processes
  • Supporting efficiencies among participating schools by being a trusted resource for information, product selection, price negotiation such as VASCUUP or other special pricing negotiations, prioritization, processes and practice.
  • Developing close and trusted working relationships between Virginia Higher Education institutional Information Security programs.
  • Bridging Virginia Higher Education institutional information security programs with Commonwealth of Virginia research, cyber security employment pipeline, and other Commonwealth strategic efforts
  • Bridging local research centers, efforts, and opportunities with other Commonwealth of Virginia researchers by developing shared secure regional and state-wide research infrastructure.
  • The value of shared knowledge, practice and collaborative efforts extends to K-12 and to state and local governments who have benefited from the VASCAN Conference.
  • Developing the structure for envisioning and carrying out shared service offerings, in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Virginia Higher Education CIO Council.

The VASCAN is guided by the following principles:

  • VASCAN facilitates development, maintenance, and optimization of institutional information security programs.
  • VASCAN facilitates alignment of institutional information security programs with recognized international, federal and state frameworks and standards.
  • VASCAN promotes the principle that information security is a mix of technical, organizational, and procedural practices that integrate into the entire organization.
  • VASCAN promotes the balance of institutional business risks with their information and infrastructure security risks.
  • VASCAN promotes cooperation and collaboration among members over and above competitive pressures that may exist.
  • VASCAN operates in the interest of the Commonwealth of Virginia and of each participating institution.
  • VASCAN promotes open sharing of information in closed-door meetings with mutually agreed upon non-disclosure expectations, and to the greatest appropriate extent in public conferences.

The VASCAN structure:

The VASCAN was founded by a partnership between George Mason University, James Madison University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech. That partnership was subsequently extended to Virginia Commonwealth University. The VASCAN will operate under a steering committee team made up of those schools and Old Dominion University, and will periodically report to the Virginia Higher Education CIO Council. Participation in the regular VASCAN meetings and a “Participant” VASCAN email list will be via invitation. Participation in monthly meetings is open to Virginia Public and Private Higher Education Institutions. Broader participation by any higher education, K-12, Commonwealth agency, or audit organization will be via the annual conference, via materials that are presented on the VASCAN website, via collaborative knowledge sharing, an open VASCAN email list, and shared services that are made available to any Commonwealth of Virginia organization.