BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The LSU Security Operations Center (SOC) will provide cyber protection to universities in the state as students are training to become cyber analysts across Louisiana.

According to a release, the state received $7.5 million from lawmakers during the 2023 Legislative Session to get cyber protection through a model created at LSU.

Dustin Glover, Chief Cyber Security Officer for Louisiana, explained how the process will work. Glover works directly with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), the Louisiana National Guard, and the state police’s crime unit.

“The first one to get hit by a cyberattack alerts everybody else,” said Glover. “The shared SOC allows us to take advantage of everyone’s disadvantage—we can’t stop that first attack—but we use that to our advantage by sharing threat information from multiple sources, so everyone is better protected.”  

The $7.5 million is allocated for the expansion of LSU’s SOC to protect all of the state’s higher education.

“Higher education is a high-value target for attackers and you’re never going to change that,” Glover said. “You have labs, students, staff and faculty. You have dorm rooms and classrooms, and third-party vendors. This becomes very complex to manage from a security perspective. It’s a huge burden on the state, and we spend a lot of money on just an adequate level of monitoring. We’re hoping, through this partnership with LSU and TekStream, that cost can go down and the value goes up. I’m passionately convinced we can do this.” 

Glover reported seeing the benefits of the investment. He told LSU the office could easily learn about attacks at universities and use the shared threat intelligence to protect the state, universities can protect themselves and help the state save resources, and the SOCs in Baton Rouge and Shreveport will train students to be cyber analysts.

The cybersecurity model created at LSU was recognized in 2022.

“LSU’s approach is a game-changer and gaining traction across higher education,” said Mary Lou Prevost, Splunk’s group vice president for state, local and higher education. “We’re focused on ensuring this model can be replicated across the entire country to provide all higher education institutions with a proven, scalable cybersecurity program that also creates a highly skilled workforce to fill the 750,000 vacant cyber jobs in the U.S.”  

The LSU Security Operations Centers in Baton Rouge and Shreveport are fully functional with an array of capabilities. Participating higher education institutes across the state will have the ability to be protected by the centers.