Fred Williams was recently named as the university’s chief information security officer (CISO). He will be at the helm of making sure the NIU community can engage in academic activities and conduct business affairs safely, over the vast online and internal networks available to campus.
“Our students, faculty and staff come to campus with more connected technology than ever before,” Williams said. “Many of them use three or four devices every day so it’s [Division of Information Technology] DoIT’s responsibility to make sure they can navigate NIU’s network and access Wi-Fi in a secure fashion.”
While Williams is new to this role, he is not new to the university. He has worked in DoIT for the past 20 years, primarily focusing on the institution’s technology infrastructure and networks. Recently, he led the charge in launching multi-factor authentication (MFA) for students in 2017, and faculty and staff just last month.
Matthew Parks, chief information officer (CIO), says the university has seen a reduction in exposure to data and information breaches caused by email phishing attacks, thanks to MFA. He says Williams’ leadership in that effort was vital.
“Fred is one of the most proficient DoIT professionals on campus. He has a vision for leveraging best practices to protect the university’s digital information.” Parks said. “He is vigilant in his efforts to protect our systems and will be a great asset as we work to implement additional layers of protection.”
Williams has several key initiatives on his radar, each in support of the increasing technology needs at NIU. Key DoIT initiatives include enhancing Wi-Fi accessibility and reliability, bringing more smart classrooms online, and incorporating new applications that will enable the institution to achieve its enrollment and research goals. Thanks to the new CISO, such is possible with minimal risk to the institution’s critical data.