If there is an IT@Cornell watchword it is “collaboration.” It conveys the ideas of working together, leveraging skills where we find them, saving time, and pooling resources to build a technology once for campus instead of multiple times for various units and colleges.
A successful collaboration has emerged in connection with Identity Finder, the software that locates confidential data like Social Security numbers and credit card numbers on our computers.
“I wanted an implementation of Identity Finder for Facilities that worked just like Human Ecology’s,” says Debra Howell, Director, Facilities IT. “We tried to make it work on our own and then Randi said, ‘Why duplicate it? If you want it to work like mine, just use mine.’”
Thus was born the start of a multi-unit collaboration that is rapidly expanding. “For the Library to meet Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, we had to regularly schedule Identity Finder scans,” says Dean Krafft, Library IT Strategies. “I heard about Randi’s system, investigated and found it met our needs.”
More units are in the queue. A&S is testing the system and CALS has scheduled an initial meeting as it considers joining the collaboration begun in the College of Human Ecology and led by IT Director, Randi Rainbow.
Randi, Debra and Dean attribute the success of the Identity Finder collaboration to a powerful shift in thinking: to work together as units and not always wait for central IT to figure out and respond to their need, especially if skills and capabilities already exist in the units. “The goal is not to keep this type of work in units forever,” says Randi. “That might be appropriate sometimes. Other times a tipping point can be reached where it makes sense to transfer the service to central IT to manage as a utility or commodity service. However it goes, being collaborative lets us share the costs and benefits as efficiently as possible.”
Because each unit may vary in its IT skill set or simply has found it necessary to develop capabilities first, the “centers of excellence” that crop up as a result of being first out the door with an IT tool are scattered around campus. Facilities IT is developing expertise with SharePoint and has an implementation being used by Research and CIT. Arts & Sciences is focused on Tableau and the Johnson School is developing capabilities around Constant Contact.
Details about CHE’s server-based Identity Finder
CHE’s server-based Identity Finder implementation automates the important function of scanning individual computers. “It scans everything that should be scanned,” says Randi. Since the scanning protocol is set on the server side, the user doesn’t have to figure it out and Cornell can be assured the scanning portion of the exercise is being done correctly. Users still have the responsibility to review the results of the scan and determine if a given file can be ignored or shredded.
“A base policy is built into the system,” explains Randi “and units can build on it by applying their own unique options. The system can identify if it is scanning for Human Ecology, the Library or Facilities and applies the right policies.” A support structure is evolving around this server-based Identity Finder, with an elist and resource downloads available to collaborating units.
If interested in more information, contact Randi Rainbow directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.