University to spend $23 million to increase security

Rachel Abbey

The university will spend $23 million to reorganize its network and eliminate the use of Social security numbers as student identification devices.

The Board of Trustees approved the budget for the Enterprise Resource Planning system yesterday. It includes expenses such as software, maintenance and personnel costs, said Ed Mahon, vice president for Information Services and CIO.

Of that budget, $3 million is set aside for unexpected costs, said David Creamer, vice president for Administration. Usually, this is done for construction projects.

The university already has 75 percent of the necessary money, Creamer said. Some of this came from the tuition increase in 2004 and 2005. The state required universities to use tuition increases above 6 percent to be used for scholarships and for technological advancements. Kent State chose to do both, he said.

The university also had campus business operations that will use the service, such as dining services, the recreation center and the residence halls, to pay a portion of the costs, Creamer said.

The rest of the 75 percent came from excess funds from last year, he said.

The additional 25 percent will be written into the budget for the next three to four years, Creamer said. It’s a large investment, but this way, the university won’t have any debt for this project.

In the next 30 days, the university will create a detailed plan for the implementation, Mahon said.

“We’re writing a detailed project plan that will outline key project milestones and key members of the ERP team,” he said.

The project should be complete in about three years, Mahon said. Trustee Kimberly Thompson asked how student information would be protected until the switch was made.

“We’re engaged in a host of activities to strengthen our information infrastructure,” Mahon said.

The university plans to increase firewall protection and intrusion detection, test program vulnerability and teach users how to protect sensitive data, he said.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].