Brown University IT Leader Takes Top Security Position at Princeton

Brown's chief information security officer will take his experience to another Ivy League university in February.

by / January 22, 2016

David Sherry has invested plenty of time in security awareness at Brown University, and starting Feb. 29, he'll begin doing the same thing at Princeton.  

Over the last seven and a half years, the chief information security officer and his team have proven to different campus offices that they're important partners who help the university move forward. As they built strong relationships and showed what they could do, they earned a spot in the beginning stages of the product and software development life cycle. 

Security team members are sometimes known as the "doctors of no" in higher education, Sherry said, particularly when they're brought in at the 11th hour of a project. But when security is considered from the beginning of a project, he noted that security experts contribute valuable feedback that ultimately enables them to say "yes." It took a number of years, but Sherry's efforts helped make security part of the everyday culture of the university.

"My job is not to hinder any business process," Sherry said. "It's to securely enable it." 

Along with building in security considerations at the beginning of a project, he added that security awareness efforts helped the whole campus understand why security is important. Casual security and privacy movie nights engage viewers in lively question and answer sessions afterward, while the Phish Bowl -- the university's one spot to check for phishing -- increases awareness of phishing attacks by posting emails of current threats. Coloquiums with nationally recognized panels, celebrations of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October and activities on International Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28 also help spread the word about security.

All of these security awareness efforts are transferrable to Princeton as Sherry takes on the same position there. The leaders at Princeton want to do the right thing when it comes to data and are open to the role of security in projects. Sherry says he's ready to provide them with a secure, controlled environment where faculty and students can change the world.

"It's an opportunity for me to provide a vision and a leadership to build something great," he said, "and that's surely something I'm excited about." 

Tanya Roscorla Former Managing Editor

Tanya Roscorla covered ed tech from 2009-2017.

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