UC Berkeley updates data security through new contract

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UC Berkeley entered into a contract with a different information technology firm in January to protect over 20,000 faculty and staff members from losing important files on their computing devices.

The firm, Druva, will provide its inSync software to back up and protect PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets used by campus affiliates in order to combat data and intellectual property loss caused by mobile device failure, damage and theft, according to Walt Hagmaier, a partner on the Druva contract and director of information services and technology at UC Berkeley.

According to a statement on Druva’s website, the software’s automated backup service would create a campuswide file repository that would protect sensitive data on campus as well as make them easily recoverable in the event that a device fails, is stolen or is lost. Users will also be able to remotely access multiple devices and manage files without using a university-authorized file-sharing service.

The campus selected Druva from four finalists after a competitive bidding process, according to David Willson, a partner on the Druva contract and manager of strategic technology acquisition in the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Hagmaier and Willson made the final decision to partner with Druva in December.

“Druva was selected as a result of a competitive bid that considered both price and a qualitative evaluation of the products,” Willson said.

Willson also added that they were constrained by public purchasing regulations requiring a cost-effective choice.

The campus currently uses UCBackup, which provides backup and recovery services for computer systems on campus only. UCBackup charges monthly, and costs consist of a fixed $2 fee accompanying a usage-based charge of $0.14 per month per GB of data stored, according to the UCBackup website.

“The difference in cost is substantial,” Hagmaier said. “The new solution will be less than half the price of the old solution.”

In addition to the cost-saving benefits that Druva offers, this product is much more accessible for faculty and staff than UCBackup, reported Hagmaier.

“This product has a much more user-friendly interface. The new version will allow faculty and staff to back up their files while not on the UC Berkeley campus,” Hagmaier said.

The switch to Druva is a part of an ongoing effort to increase campus security and protect people’s personal information.

Device theft has naturally started to increase because these devices are more prevalent, said UCPD Lt. Eric Tejada. Hacking is also an issue. In 2009, the Tang Center experienced a security breach in which hackers accessed the electronic records database holding the personal information of thousands of UC Berkeley students.

“The goal of this program is to back up everyone’s device so that no one loses their files again,”  Hagmaier said.

Although this program offers much needed accessibility, there is no guarantee that files will never be compromised.

“I don’t think you can ever be completely protected,” said IT policy manager Lisa Ho.

In a two-year period, this program will roll out to all faculty and staff and will come preinstalled on their endpoint devices, according to Hagmaier.

Contact Matt Trejo at [email protected].