Missouri State and the Springfield community enjoy a strong reputation for safety. Keeping students safe is critically important to me, the Board of Governors and our administrative leadership at Missouri State. Today I want to focus on two aspects of campus safety: information security and emergency preparedness.
Be vigilant about information security
Threats to our information security have become a matter of routine at Missouri State University. We are not alone. Universities and other businesses across the world must now stay perpetually vigilant to fight off attacks to information security.
Our information security office works behind the scenes to keep university data secure, but all of us who use computers are the first line of defense. We must always be vigilant and aware when following links, downloading files and opening attachments.
There are actions you can take to help:
- Be suspicious of email. Cybercriminals are able to send emails that appear to be from anyone they choose, even your supervisor. If you are instructed to do something like send money or reply with data, verify those instructions by phone or in person.
- Know where your reply is going. If you do reply to an email, check that the “To” address in your reply is what you expected. One tactic used by cybercriminals is setting a “Reply-to” address that is different than the “From” address.
- Look out for secrecy and urgency. Cybercriminals will often try to avoid your suspicion by making their request sound secret and urgent. Phrases like “Do this immediately” or “Please do not speak with anyone by phone or email” should be red flags.
If you receive anything suspicious, or if you have any questions or concerns related to information security, you may contact the information security office at 417-836-5226.
Preparing for crises
As you know, last month we received a report of an armed individual in a residence hall. The university activated its emergency response protocols, and our team reacted promptly and effectively. Several days after the situation, our team met to debrief and discuss opportunities to enhance our protocols.
Fortunately, this incident was very low risk and no one was injured. However, it demonstrates the importance of emergency preparedness.
We recently announced that former Springfield Fire Chief David Hall joined Missouri State as our first emergency preparedness manager. In this role, David will manage planning, budgeting, training and programming related to emergency preparedness and response.
In the next several months, David will be meeting with a broad array of students, faculty, staff and administrators to learn about the university’s current emergency response protocols and to develop plans to enhance the university’s capabilities in responding to emergencies.
I look forward to working with David on this important endeavor.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!
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