Campus News

A Collaboration in UK’s Cybersecurity Efforts: Joint Services Operation Center Publishes Annual Report

photo of piece of computing technology

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2020) — “We remain diligent in our commitment to the university community to ensure a safe and efficient network environment. Establishing the Joint Services Operations Center (JSOC) at the University of Kentucky is a step in the right direction,” said Brian T. Nichols, chief information officer, UK Information Technology Services.

The JSOC was established, as a pilot project, in December 2017 as a collaboration between university and UK HealthCare IT leadership. Over the last 10 years, the technological landscape at UK has grown exponentially. During this time, more than $3 billion was spent on new infrastructure, making UK a complex, digitally robust organization. Today, JSOC’s mission is to provide real-time monitoring of the university’s technology to support the diverse infrastructure across the university and the Commonwealth.

"Information technology is becoming more and more foundational to the business operations of a health care organization," said Cecilia Page, chief information officer for UK HealthCare. "The 24/7 proactive support provided through this type of initiative is paramount to our delivery of high-quality patient care."

While the effort remains a pilot project, the JSOC team, composed of Information Technology Services and UK HealthCare Information Technology staff, monitors university systems and data across the Commonwealth to provide real-time status updates and detects potential technology incidents for a fast, proactive response. The systems they monitor consist of 149,406 network ports, comprising UK’s network which has an average of 90,000 customers daily. The team mitigates issues before the university community notices anything has happened.

“The opportunity to work with knowledgeable colleagues on top of such a diverse infrastructure has been invaluable,” Miles Fortner, a network specialist at the Joint Services Operation Center, said.

The JSOC is staffed by three university IT team members and three UK HealthCare IT members with various backgrounds and expertise in customer service incident handling, network infrastructure performance monitoring, and diagnostic tools process improvement.

The JSOC continues its mission of providing persistent monitoring 24/7, responding proactively, and enabling exceptional performance through defined policies and procedures. For more information about the JSOC, review the 2019 JSOC Annual Report here.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.