From the CIO

From the CIO

Kelly Block serves as Interim Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the University of Illinois System.

For more information about Kelly, visit About the CIO.

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(Reprinted in part with permission of

The "Internet of Things" or the "industrial internet" is making us part of the internet itself. Eventually, your house will know that your self-driving car is on its way. Your spouse (and the government) will also probably know where you are in the self-driving car, but let's focus on the positive side of the Internet of Things. Even though you might have to fill out three different paper forms to see a doctor, your phone and watch already can give some of your medical history as you walk in the door to the office. When the refrigerator tells the nurse that you pulled out ice cream five times more often than broccoli, you're in trouble. Hopefully you'll never have to call a repair person again, because everything will know when it should be serviced. At the University of Illinois, we developed a mobile app that uses your current location to help students find the right food at the right time within the various dining halls. Like it or not, we are part of the cloud, with little ability to opt out. How we embrace the Internet of Things as IT professionals will determine how comfortable our customers feel with using so much data from machines.

Is the cloud secure? Mostly, yes. Higher education has battled network and data security for decades, and will continue to balance open access with the protection of assets and also privacy with security, regardless of whether the service is inside the university or outside of it. It is more likely that you or one of your colleagues will click on a cleverly designed spear phishing email, get infected by malware from your kids, or put your credit card though a hacked point of sale before the next cloud breach gets announced.

While there's nothing that is perfectly secure, the cloud services providers have a financial incentive to not play loose with your data or the university's. So for today, I'm choosing to be for the cloud, with the cloud, and of the cloud. What choice to do I have?

Posted by Wendy Bertram  On Feb 17, 2016 at 9:35 AM