Northeast Iowa Comm. College hopes to prevent data breaches - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Northeast Iowa Comm. College hopes to prevent data breaches

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PEOSTA (KWWL) -

Major data breaches have taken place at some national retailers, like Target, in the past couple of months. In eastern Iowa, a community college is looking to help prevent something similar.

Northeast Iowa Community College is further strengthening data security as well as limiting access to confidential information.

Rhonda Seibert, a Northeast Iowa Community College information security officer, said the assessment of NICC data security took place in 2010.

"We did an assessment to see where we were at, where we were vulnerable and not vulnerable," Seibert said Wednesday. "That assessment included mainly our processes and how we conduct business at the college. So we did an assessment of each area in business services, student services, academics and everywhere."

With the assessment, Seibert said the Northeast Iowa Community College information security team was looking to find out what type of data is used everyday within the college.

"For example, business services uses financial information from student loans to employee payroll," Seibert said.

From that assessment, Northeast Iowa Community College has been further strengthening their data security and limiting accessing to confidential information.

"We want to make sure our firewalls are the best that they can be and the anti-virus software is updated," Seibert said.

The 20-member information security team has also been creating electronic archives for student records to help reduce paper-based files.

Seibert said, although upgrades have been made to the computer network, other areas have also been upgraded. Education and awareness programs are also in place for employees of Northeast Iowa Community College.

"It does include our computer network, but it is really broad," she said. "Our goal is to educate all staff on how they can impact someone's identity and the steps they can take maintain it."

Seibert said Northeast Iowa Community College will continually update their data security process to help prevent data breaches.

"A data breach can occur at any time, so one of our goals at NICC is to protect that portion of our college as much as possible," Seibert said.

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