Computer Viruses = Big Costs

Computer security threats are driving education funding away from the classroom and into the computer labs. Colleges and universities around our area are having to spend more just to keep their information safe.

The information superhighway is driving up security costs for colleges around our area, including Valdosta State University.

"Its never ending. We have to be ever diligent, and we have to make sure our systems are secure, that our software is updated and that our users are trained," says Joe Newton, VSU Chief Information Officer.

All of those computer security measures cost VSU an estimated $90,000 this year, and that number is expected to double next year. As it is right now, about 70 percent of e-mail going through the VSU system is spam, or junk e-mail, which can slow the computer system down.

Even more serious is that four percent of the e-mails carry a virus, which could cripple the system at any time.

"We're checking the systems, the data's housed on to see what is vulnerable, see what kind of patch level it is, what security is needs to be implemented on top of it. If you don't know what's out there, then you can't defend against it. You need to be aware of what's out there and attacking your system and how to prevent it," says Bill Moore, VSU Library Systems Manager.

Right now, VSU computer experts are able to stay ahead of most of those problems, but officials say it will be a long and expensive battle to keep the system safe.

VSU and other Georgia universities work together to help protect students' personal information.


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