Office of Information Technology

Message from the CIO – October 2010


A big part of Information Technology is (of course) managing the information itself: how to store it, protect it, and make it accessible to the people who need it.  Here are three projects underway in OIT right now that deal with managing information, and what these projects mean to you.


Shared Storage/Storage Increase Project: As the complexity of information grows, along with the number of users that need to access and save information, the need for additional storage becomes increasingly important.  In September, the Muskegon Community College Board of Trustees granted permission to the Office of Information Technology department to seek bids on hardware to increase the storage capacity of the college’s network system.  The technology used to increase information storage is known as a “Storage Area Network” or SAN. 


Why is this important?  Quite simply, more storage on the network means more storage space for our information.  A SAN also makes it easier to protect information through allowing better methods to backup and restore.  Because a SAN shares storage for multiple systems, information can be stored more efficiently, making it less costly to manage information storage.


Red Flags & Security Awareness Project: Developed by the Federal Trade Commission, the Red Flags Rule requires colleges to implement a written Identity Theft Prevention Program designed to detect the warning signs — or "red flags" — of identity theft in their day-to-day operations.  In September, the Information Technology Council formed the Red Flags Subcommittee to help develop the necessary documentation to meet these requirements.  Along with a written program, the Red Flags Subcommittee is charged with developing a security awareness presentation for those who work with personally identifiable information (PII).


Why is this important?  While the college has already implemented several methods to prevent identity theft, collecting this information into one program meets the needs of the FTC’s regulations.  Because new threats to information security are constantly emerging, Security Awareness allows people to learn ways to protect their information: not only at work, but at home as well.


Data Warehouse Project:  A data warehouse is a separate location to store information.  Data warehouses are designed to promote the ability to generate reports and perform analysis.  The Office of Information Technology is implementing a data warehouse in order to take advantage of these capabilities.


Why is this important?  Information is only useful when it can be organized into meaningful patterns and used to make informed decisions.  When completed, the data warehouse will give the college the opportunity to use mainstream tools to analyze and interpret information.  Organized Information should be readily available to those that need it.  Because the information is stored in a separate location, performing complex searches and analysis doesn’t impact performance of the live system.



Mike Alstrom

Chief Information Officer

Muskegon Community College