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KNOXVILLE — The increasing assaults on computer and information systems has led to the creation of an Information Security Office at the University of Tennessee.

The office is responsible for the communication and coordination of all information technology security efforts for UT’s Knoxville campus and university-wide computer systems and services.

Brice Bible, UT interim chief information officer, said Monday that six people have been assigned to the security office. In addition to protecting UT-s computers and information systems, it will work to educate and raise awareness of the need for heightened information systems security, Bible said.

Robert Ridenour, who has led UT-s information security effort for the past two years, has been assigned the duties of information security officer and will direct the office.

“Information technology security is about more than tools and programs,” Ridenour said. “It is about communication and education as well.

“Our goal as a security office is to engage members of the university community in protecting their own systems as we try to protect the infrastructure.”

The new office was established through a reallocation of funds and requires no additional resources, UT Executive Vice President Eli Fly said.

“Both internal and external assessments found that we needed to do more in the security area,” Fly said. “Now, security is a fully staffed office rather than just an adjunct activity. We will be more aggressive in monitoring attacks on our computing systems.

“This is too important not to do.”

The office will monitor UT information systems and networks in Knoxville and will work with other campuses on a consulting and advisory basis.

“Security has become such a large issue we felt we needed to give it departmental status,” Bible said. “The university is becoming dependent upon technology for day-to-day operations. It is important we insure these resources are protected.”