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From personnel files and student grades to accounts receivable data and cutting-edge research, the US based Virginia Tech University maintains enormous amounts of sensitive information. So it is no wonder that its networks are probed hundreds of thousands of times every day.
Adequately protecting such a complex campus network infrastructure, made up of more 30,000 computing and communication systems across 125 buildings, requires a host of layered defenses, says Randy Marchany, the university's information security officer, who leads a team of four full-time security analysts in addition to several graduate students.
Marchany and his group have been collecting security-related information from various sources – such as operating system logs, intrusion detection and prevention systems, firewalls and vulnerability scanners – for a number of years. But with such vast amounts of security data being regularly generated and stored on separate, distributed servers, it became difficult to see the big picture, he says.
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