RealTime IT News

Paul Kim, CTO, Stanford School of Education

Paul KimBright students with time on their hands need to be served by the university's IT enterprise. They also need to be defended against so they don't try and teach their educators a lesson in security.

The small-city-sized enterprise that is Stanford University is actually made up of seven major schools. Sitting at the helm of the IT infrastructure of the School of Education is CTO Paul Kim who has held the post since 2001.

Internetnews.com caught up with Kim to chat about Stanford's IT challenges and where he sees computing going in the future.

Q: What are the biggest technological changes and/or trends at Stanford that you've noticed since you've been CTO?

Ubiquitous access has become a new trend here. Everybody needs access anywhere, anytime. We need to be able to have that access in an open computing environment. However, when you want to open up a computing environment, you definitely have to pay a price for that.

We want to make our networking computing environment as open as possible, and at the same time make sure that it's safe and secure. That has been the challenge.

Q: What are the most exciting new technologies for students and faculty this year?

More wireless access. We're also exploring utilizing VoIP on campus.

VoIP has not been a top priority for us. However, it is something that we are exploring and particularly we are interested in integrating VoIP in our conventional applications like Exchange for various purposes like creating better communication, creating an e-learning community -- those sorts of things.

Q: How do P2P and instant messaging impact your network? And do you support or block them?

We have priorities for different types of transmissions. Anything that has to do with those get the lowest priority. We're not saying that we completely block them, but you will feel it and you don't want to do it.

Q: What about copyrighted materials on your network?

We defiantly have a policy in place, and if anybody goes against the policy we definitely block access. We have very active monitoring systems with technology and with people, so we constantly monitor all those activities and we have a log. So if anyone is on the radar we take action against them.

Q: How do you help the university prepare and defend against various security attacks?

We have different layers of security. We get port-scanned all day long. People are out there scanning for open ports and mis-configured ports, and they're always looking for vulnerabilities.

We have our own port-scanning system that will scan our own ports and see if there are any holes anywhere, and then we plug up the holes. Then we have various services that enable our administrators to easily identify problems and issues on our network.

We have a main firewall, and then we have internal firewalls; we have different firewall structures to not only prevent hacking from the outside but from internal intrusion, as well.

We not only do virus scanning, but also the system patch status. We have a system that checks on the patch of the operating systems, and we make sure that they have the latest patches. If we find anything that is less than up to date, we notify them and take action if they don't respond.

We basically want to create and maintain a secure environment for everybody.

Q: How do you see technology changing how we share and protect data in the 21st century?

We'll see more ubiquitous access and ubiquitous computing. More transparent access and less obvious technology. Probably wearable devices and different types of displays that will make things much easier for people to face with their computing systems.

The key word these days is "U" learning, and we're moving towards that. That definitely requires various types of security devices and identity protection solutions.