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Executive Summary

The main focus of the Computer Services Department at Mississippi College (MC) is to offer an excellent range of IT services to customers by utilizing the technology on hand and providing employees with the necessary tools to enhance productivity and deliver excellent customer service. Information security is of utmost importance and a level of protection must be continuously managed and controlled to offer the security needed in order to obtain its objectives for confidentiality, integrity, and availability. This plan provides recommendations to ensure the progression of technology through the implementation of new hardware, software, and networking products.

Assessment of Current Technology

An assessment of technology based services and infrastructure at MC provides a review of the current information technology environment and existing standards for hardware, data communication, and application software. A discussion of the strategies for managing each area follows.

Strategies for Managing Systems and Application Architecture

Standards and strategies for replacement include:

  • Continue to evaluate computer systems to determine if they are candidates for cloud technology.
  • Continue efforts to standardize the platforms for hardware, database and application development to further lower the total cost of ownership.
  • Choose platforms with a high market presence to obtain better price competition, improve availability of tools and integrated solutions, and enhance availability of qualified staff and contract consultants.
  • Develop ways to improve service levels through hardware and data redundancy. Examples of this include the use of virtual technology, storage area networks, and system replication strategies.

Strategies for Managing Desktop Hardware and Applications:

  • A continuation to migrate all desktop PCs to Windows 7 or 8 remains desirable.
  • A continuation to migrate all Microsoft Office users to Office 2010 or 2013.
  • An assumption based on the life cycle of a PC is expected to be five years.
  • Continue to use Google Apps as the primary email and calendar system for all faculty, staff, and students.
  • Continue to monitor all software licensing and patch management to make sure they are properly licensed and current.
  • Continue to migrate users from the current PBX telephone system to VoIP.
  • Continue to integrate network management tools.

Strategies for Managing Network Architecture:

  • Continue to monitor any bandwidth issues that affect applications, hardware, and Internet traffic. As more data requests are made, the need to provide faster and more efficient network connections increase.
  • Monitor technology evolution to cost effectively improve network throughput.
  • Expand Wireless for internal connections with focus on dual radio 802.11n technology.
  • Continue to monitor portable devices connecting to internal network.

Strategies for Implementing Information Security:

Information Security must be integrated into the daily tasks of MC employees so they can continue to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the customers and employees. A focus on information security must be established by considering the following security needs.

  • Maintain current firewall and continue to implement network traffic control and URL content filtering as well as intrusion protection.
  • Continue to provide Anti-Virus and Malware protection through current software being used.
  • Monitor and ensure proper business use of internet bandwidth.
  • Pursue and establish a vulnerability scanning management program that provides open port detection, patch management, Windows file and folder change management and reporting capabilities.
  • Conduct risk assessments by an external auditing firm, to review the current policies and infrastructure and make adjustments to enhance security.

Assessment of Technology Needs:

The Computer Services Department will continue to identify a number of new technology products and opportunities to improve the existing applications, systems, and data communications infrastructure. In the future, they will continue to outline and propose strategic technology initiatives for MC.

Vision for the Future:

The Computer Services Department will continue to identify basic strategies for maximizing the technology resources at MC and implementing technology with a focus on reducing total cost of ownership. When addressing technology-based decisions, the following principals and strategies are applied to create the best opportunity for success.

  • Implement and support a unified storage solution that is scalable and easily manageable.
  • Continue to expand the current Disaster Recovery process, using system replication, to better support the more important software applications.
  • Minimize the variation of hardware platforms, operating systems, network infrastructure, database and application development platforms so that depth of technical staff knowledge is attained and cross training maintained more easily.
  • Minimize support issues by standardizing the desktop configurations and software interfaces.
  • Improve on the development of the online support systems to keep track of pending support requests.
  • Continue to provide seamless integration and data sharing between applications. Identify opportunities to share data between departments and applications to promote data consistency and integrity.
  • Take advantage of commonalities among department needs by utilizing generic solutions and customizing and/or integrating these solutions for each department.
  • Build on the My MC Portal / Web Server Infrastructure to accommodate increasing demand for web-based information services both internally and externally.

Approved by the Information Technology Committee, October 13, 2016