I am excited to introduce our first-ever newsletter for the IT Security & Risk team at Texas A&M University. This newsletter aims to keep you up-to-date with the latest happenings in our team, as well as the broader Technology Services organization.

Look for these newsletters to arrive monthly (most of them won’t be as long as this one ;-). You can expect to find things like:
  • Important Announcements
  • Project Updates 
  • Team and Staff Accomplishments
  • Organizational Updates
  • New Security Policies

All-hands Meeting in August

We’re having another all-hands meeting in August! Our previous all-hands meeting in February was a great opportunity to meet new people, and to reconnect with colleagues that we don’t see very often. Block your calendar for 08/16 @ 11:30am–2:00pm. Lunch will be provided.

New Vertical — Research Security & Compliance

Research Security & Compliance has been added as a new vertical within IT Security, headed up by Aaron Brender. He brings two fantastic new team members with him: John Jennings and Yolanda Guera. The focus of this team is the protection of research data, research subjects, and institutional reputation. They partner closely with the Division of Research and existing compliance groups to support the research service cores, security related to research and grant contracts, and the entire research project lifecycle.

New Faces in Security

In addition to the new group mentioned above, let’s welcome some new faces to our team (make sure to say hi when you see them at the meeting in August!): 

  • Victoria Alvaredo (Security Analyst I) has joined Security Operations & Forensics 
  • Renee Hendrix (Policy Analyst III) has joined IT Risk, Policy & Compliance
  • Brandon Tharp (Senior IT Pro III) has joined Cloud & Platform Security

And a few familiar faces have new roles:

  • Andrew Dean has a new role (Security Analyst I) in Cloud & Platform Security
  • Gil Muñoz has a new role (Network Security Architect) in Security Operations & Forensics
  • Kyle Levenick has a new role (Program Director) reporting directly to the CISO

Notable Accomplishments

  • Tony Okonski (Systems & Application Security) passed his CISSP exam this month

  • Zachary Cox (Security Operations & Forensics) is now Cribl certified

  • Phylis Zimmermann (IT Accessibility) earned her PhD in Educational Leadership from New England University

  • Justin Hutto (Security Operations & Forensics) and Julian Britton (Systems & Application Security) earned Jamf Certified Tech certifications

Congrats on these great accomplishments! 🎉

Organizational Changes in Technology Services

Joshua Kissee, who was the Assistant Vice President for Research Technologies, has left Texas A&M to take a position at Baylor University. The various groups that had reported to him have been moved to other teams in Technology Services:

  • Jody Harrison and his team are now supporting cloud operations under Ed Evans 
  • Enterprise research applications which were managed by the Division of Research are now managed by Juan Garza’s team 
  • Security and compliance activities related to research functions are part of our team under Aaron Brender

Dan Schumacher joined the IT Enterprise Operations team, reporting to Ed Evans as a new Executive Director for Technology Operations. There are five teams reporting to Dan:

  • Rick Spiller—Open Access Labs
  • Jon Griffey—Endpoint Management
  • Roger Whitaker—Tech Ops 1 (Data centers; backups; OS support)
  • Greg Polen—Tech Ops 2 (Virtualization; AggieCloud, VMs, VDI)
  • Jody Harrison—Tech Ops 3 (Cloud operations; STAR; M365)

Major Project Updates

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Wrapping Up & Reminders

It’s been a busy year for all of us — with lots of changes happening across the entire university. I’ve been very proud to see how each of you has continued to serve the university with excellence and professionalism throughout these transitions.

I’m sure the news about President Banks’ resignation was as surprising to you as it was to me. Please know that having spoken to Ed and the leadership team, I’m confident that our ongoing projects and plans are still moving forward, and changes in the president’s office are not in any way slowing the progress towards overall IT consolidation. 

I encourage you to share your thoughts and suggestions with me at any time, and you are always welcome to schedule a meeting with me. I look forward to seeing you in August!

Adam Mikeal

Associate Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer