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K-State Today

October 18, 2019

K-State receives national award for cybersecurity, research efforts

Submitted by Erin Pennington

The Offices of the Vice President for Research and Information Technology Services at Kansas State University have been recognized with an International Data Group CSO50 award for the Research Information Security Enclave, or RISE, project.  

The national annual award recognizes organizations for security projects and initiatives that demonstrate outstanding business value and thought leadership.  

"This award is evidence of the level of commitment at Kansas State University to continuing to not just maintain, but to increase our research efforts in a secure and compliant manner," said Peter Dorhout, vice president for research. "The value and importance of providing this resource to our faculty cannot be diminished, as operating without this system in place would significantly limit our ability to successfully compete for federal funding."

RISE enables K-State to continue pursuing sponsored research that includes security-controlled information even as the U.S. government is implementing increased requirements for safeguarding controlled unclassified information, or CUI. In addition, the enclave allows K-State to not only meet contractual obligations but also to partner with federal sponsors in safeguarding information and data. The offices of the Vice President for Research and Information Technology Services collaborated to develop a Microsoft Azure-based CUI system to help researchers at K-State more easily comply with regulations. 

"This award is the culmination of a strong collaborative effort of the teams from the offices of the Vice President for Research and Information Technology Services working closely with Microsoft," said Gary Pratt, chief information officer. "This work exemplifies the excellence that comes from a team committed to the success of research at Kansas State University." 

CUI is information provided by, collected or maintained on behalf of the executive branch of the U.S. government, and aligns with CUI registry categories. Grants that are awarded that meet these conditions must safeguard all information to at least the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, 800-171 standard. NIST 800-171 consists of 110 physical and IT-related security controls.

"The RISE solution is revolutionary for protecting electronic export controls compliance research," said Cheryl Doer, associate vice president for research compliance. "This ensures K-State's export-controlled research is protected at the highest levels and restricts access only to those permitted to work on the project, while also allowing multiple researchers to access and work on the restricted data from their own computers."

Kansas State University and other honorees will be recognized at the 2020 CSO50 Conference + Awards, which will take place April 27-29, 2020.