Augusta University’s Security Operations Center (SOC) opened in October 2020 amid COVID-19 challenges and increased cyber threats. The cyber defense department, along with the help of a student workforce, has been working diligently to keep Augusta University and Augusta University Health data safe and secure.
Augusta University’s SOC is housed within the Georgia Cyber Center. It employs people, processes and technology to continuously monitor and improve the AU and AU Health security posture while detecting, analyzing and responding to cybersecurity incidents.
The goal is to be a centralized resource for AU and AU Health, eventually operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The SOC functions around the clock through automated alerting and on-call procedures to ensure rapid response to emerging threats.
“Our Security Operations Center provides the best of both worlds, in my opinion,” said Dr. Heather Roszkowski, Augusta University’s assistant vice president of cyber defense and enterprise chief information security officer.
“It is a collaborative environment where our team can work together across disciplines to achieve a common goal. On top of that, our students experience this shared environment to learn, grow and, most importantly, apply their classroom knowledge within a true cybersecurity environment.”
The future: SIEGE CyberOps
While the top priority is to protect Augusta University, the Cyber Defense Department is looking to the future to provide services beyond the university and the health system.
Augusta University’s SOC has been officially branded as SIEGE CyberOps. The word “siege” is a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies to compel the surrender of those inside.
SIEGE stands for “Security Intelligence and Engineering for Georgia Education.”
SIEGE CyberOps identifies, isolates, and eliminates problems within AU’s digital footprint. The tagline for the new venture is “Always A Move Ahead.”
SIEGE CyberOps is the home of AU’s cyber defense team that protects the organization by monitoring, detecting, analyzing and investigating cyber threats. Networks, servers, computers, endpoint devices, operating systems, applications and databases are continuously examined for signs of cybersecurity incidents.
SIEGE CyberOps analyzes feeds, establishes rules, identifies exceptions, enhances responses and looks for new vulnerabilities.
“This latest iteration of our cybersecurity work exemplifies Augusta University’s commitment to serving the entire state of Georgia,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD.
“We’re also dedicated to providing real-life learning opportunities for our students. These experiences will set Augusta University graduates on the path to becoming the next generation of cybersecurity experts.”
SIEGE top priorities
The program’s priorities include:
- Protect AU and AU Health systems, networks and data through real-time monitoring, security policies and security controls.
- Defend AU and AU Health networks from criminal and adversarial cyber efforts which seek to inflict harm upon the enterprise through malicious cyber actions or exploitation of protected sensitive information or health care data via breaches and ransomware attacks.
- Educate the AU and AU Health workforce through biannual cybersecurity awareness training and periodic phishing campaigns. Provide real-world, hands-on, experiential learning opportunities to AU students, Georgia Cyber Center interns and Skillbridge interns.
Protecting our cybersecurity environment requires the support of all of Augusta University. Please forward any suspicious activity to the SIEGE team.
Learn more about SIEGE CyberOps.