Security architecture for universities and research facilities

Safety and security issues at universities and research organisations are being handled by several units and departments. The wide range of responsibilities from cyber security over export-control to work safety challenges universities and research organisations. Therefore, a comprehensive security architecture with explicit distribution of tasks is key.

illustration Security Architecture

© DLR Projektträger

Ensuring a safe environment at universities and research organisations – for both people and data – involves numerous tasks and actions. The illustration above gives an exemplary overview of involved entities and their responsibilities regarding security and safety issues. Depending on size and scope of an institution, each security architecture may differ.
However, at every institution, there is never only one person or one department in charge of building a safe environment. It is cross-sectional and highly complex matter, which needs the attention of the institutions’ head of administration. A security architecture structures tasks and responsibilities and therefore, helps to manage institutional operations, also including compliance.

The responsibilities and tasks include:

  • Civil security, for example on campus or for students studying abroad.
  • Work safety, for example using the right laboratory equipment or providing healthy chairs in offices.
  • Export Control Law and other legal issues, for example in international scientific cooperation or when working with international scientists.
  • Prevention of physical crime, for example installing burglar-proof windows or regulating access to research facilities.
  • Cyber security, for example using secure information technology or increasing IT competencies for all staff.

Next to preventing physical crime, cyber security and export control law are especially important for preventing espionage or unintended technology transfer – thus, for safeguarding science.

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