Foreword Esther Molenaar

Everyone needs to feel responsible for our data

Online work has become the new way of working. Home offices raise new security issues. The IT department is doing everything it can to let everyone at WUR work securely, from researchers to lecturers and from staff to students. But it is important that everyone sees this as their responsibility too. How Serious Are YOU? is the subject of this fourth issue of the online magazine WUR is serious about Data.

The IT department has been a madhouse in the last while, like many other WUR departments. For us, it all started on 23 December 2019 with the hack at Maastricht University. Since then, we’ve taken a lot of measures to prevent such a hack happening at WUR. For example, we added more security for workplaces and introduced a WUR passcode (multi-factor authentication). It’s an extra step for all WUR employees but it does mean a huge improvement in the protection of our data.

Additionally, we are working behind the scenes on data classification. If you know what datasets your organization has, you can have differing degrees of protection depending on the dataset. All these actions are part of Demarrage, our information security acceleration programme.

Our business is valuable not just for researchers but also for hackers

Then along came the coronavirus measures and everyone had to work from home. We immediately upgraded the VPN connection to make sure everyone can work on the WUR server from home. We also sped up implementation of Microsoft Teams for both staff and students. What is more, as of September everyone can work in a secure cloud environment in Microsoft Azure. These are technically complex operations but they are incredibly important because WUR is still a target for malicious parties.

Online work has become the new way of working. The Service Desk is handling as many queries as ever. We’re getting a lot of questions about the home as a workplace. That raises new security issues too. As far as security is concerned, people need to use their common sense but also to feel responsible. After all, our business is valuable not just for the researchers but also for hackers. Unfortunately, people at WUR regularly receive phishing emails. That’s quite worrying.

IT is a vital part of the core process. Our motto is ‘your wish is our command’. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us with all your IT queries. We can help you find solutions in more areas than you might expect at first. We aim to be your partner in the further digitization of education and research.

Esther Molenaar Head of Facilities & Services (FB-IT)

Photo: Guy Ackermans

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