Skip to main content Skip to main content

Information Security

Information security is an important focus for higher education, as we tend to be heavily targeted by cyber criminals due to the wealth of data and resources we possess. Hackers trying to find valuable personal information see our systems containing tens of thousands of students’ information as an attractive target.

Protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Many departments at MSU Denver handle sensitive and confidential information - also known as personally identifiable information, or?PII.?PII?includes any?information that can be used to uniquely identify, contact or locate an individual or can be used with other information to uniquely identify a person. It consists of a broad range of information that can identify an individual, including name, social security number (SSN), date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, address, driver’s license number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, health and insurance records, and any other information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial and employment information.

It is important to remember that the more?PII?information that’s combined, the greater the risk of identifying a specific individual. For example, a birthdate without a name is unlikely to result in the identification of an individual, but a name and a birthdate is very likely to result in the identification of an individual.? Depending on the type of data involved, different policies and laws describe proper precautions to take.?Be familiar with FERPA, PCI, HIPAA, and other standards if you handle this sort of information.?

Safeguarding?PII?is imperative because of the high risk of identity theft or financial loss posed to individuals and to the University in the event of improper disclosure. It is the responsibility of?all departments and employees to identify the?PII?in their care, only keep what is needed, properly protect all?PII, dispose of?PII?that’s no longer needed, and immediately report any unauthorized disclosure of?PII.

Information Technology Services (ITS) offers the following guidelines for safeguarding sensitive?PII:

  1. Take stock.
    Know how to identify?PII?that you send, receive, process, or store.
  2. Scale down.
    Keep only what you need, and only in authorized, secure locations.
  3. Lock it.
    Protect the information that you keep. This includes physical and electronic security.
  4. Pitch it.
    Properly dispose of what you no longer need.
  5. Report it.
    Immediately report all suspected or confirmed privacy and security incidents to the ITS Helpdesk at 303-352-7548 or?

MSU Denver is committed to protecting the?PII?of its students, faculty, staff, and other individuals associated with the University. Please do your part in protecting the?PII?entrusted to you.

Protecting Your Private Information

The start of a new semester is an exciting time, but it’s also a prime time for identity theft. It’s important to safeguard your private information to reduce the risk of having your money, information or identity stolen.

The following?security tips, from the article Avoiding ID theft on campus, are for students but can be helpful for all of us: ?

  1. Protect your paperwork.
    If you need to bring personal or financial information to campus, be sure to safeguard it. Avoid filling out forms at a public table or giveaway booth, and dispose of any unneeded paperwork securely.
  2. Avoid free Wi-Fi
    Never use your credit card or do any banking on public Wi-Fi networks, because thieves can easily spy and take your personal information. Financial activities should only be done on private, password-protected, secured Internet connections.
  3. Don’t disclose too much on social media.
    Be careful about what you share on social media. Never put your birth date, full name, address, phone number, Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, on any sites. Also, avoid using personal information, such as pet names or important dates, in your passwords.
  4. Protect your phone.
    Only download apps onto your phone from trustworthy sources. Using alternatives to your phone’s app store can increase the risk of downloading a malicious app that could potentially steal your personal information.
  5. Don’t lend your laptop.
    The person you’re lending it to may not be a thief, but they may inadvertently use public Wi-Fi networks or download software with dangerous viruses that can hack your information.
  6. Monitor your credit report.
    This is a good way to quickly detect if someone has stolen your identity. Federal law allows you to request one free credit report from each of the three agencies every 12 months. For more information, visit
  7. Don’t be 'phish' bait.
    Be cautious of emails and websites that are 'phishing' (asking) for personal information. If you’re not sure about a request, call the company to verify.

Avoiding Scammers

Scammers are always looking for new ways to steal your money or identity! Some universities have recently seen a new scam where fraudsters offer students a tuition discount by paying through a third party – the fraudsters make a payment using a stolen credit card, the charge gets rejected, and the student’s tuition money is gone!

MSU Denver will never encourage a student to pay through an intermediary party. The Office of the Bursar’s webpage provides information about the approved methods for paying tuition.

We encourage all students to remain alert and if a deal sounds “too good to be true”, communicate with campus staff before sending money, sharing personal information or continuing to deal with someone who is offering a discount or unbelievable benefit.

Please forward any suspicious emails to and Information Technology Services (ITS) will determine if the message is legitimate.

Beware of Social Engineering Attempts

Recently, MSU Denver employees reported being the targets of a “social engineering” attempt by someone claiming to be from Hewlett Packard. The individual told employees that their office printer was running low on ink and toner, and offered to replace both once the employees provided their Pro Card numbers. Fortunately, the employees offered no information and reported the incident to Information Technology Services.

Social engineering involves tricking individuals into revealing confidential information, such as passwords, credit card and social security numbers, and information about students. A social engineer will often pretend to be someone you know, like a co-worker or a trusted supplier. An attacker may not ask for confidential information directly, so if you feel that a request for information is unusual, trust your instincts and do not provide any information.

By being discerning and diligent about the information you share with others, you will help keep MSU Denver a secure and safe environment. Always be aware that you can be a target of a social engineering attack in-person, over the telephone or online. If you receive any suspicious visitors, phone calls or emails requesting confidential information, please do not provide it and immediately contact the ITS Helpdesk at 303-352-7548 or

Banning Bogus Emails

Information Technology Services (ITS) recently implemented new filters to quarantine ‘spoofed’ email messages. These safeguards are being applied in response to several recent spoofing attacks targeted at MSU Denver. These spoofed emails were sent to MSU Denver recipients, with the sender address appearing to be a legitimate MSU Denver email address. However, they were actually sent from an external email address by cybercriminals attempting to steal confidential information.

The new anti-spoofing filters will only allow emails sent from actual accounts, as well as a limited number of authorized services such as Lyris List Manager, Banner and Blackboard. ITS can make exceptions to anti-spoofing rules, but it is important to keep the number of exceptions limited to those external parties with whom we have specific contracts for services and that have appropriate privacy and security controls in place.?

With the anti-spoofing filters applied, all emails that are sent by an external email address disguised as an internal MSU Denver email address will flagged. You will still be able to access the emails to review them prior to opening or deleting them.

Filtering spoofed emails will reduce the risk of users receiving and acting on malicious spoofed emails. However, as with most efforts to reduce risk, there may be some unintended consequences from these changes. The anti-spoofing filters may affect some legitimate emails that are sent by external services, if the emails are sent from a system such as Constant Contact, Salesforce, or MailChimp. If you currently use an external mass email service, you are encouraged to consider transitioning to Lyris List Manager, the mass email program managed and supported by MSU Denver ITS. Information about how to use Lyris List Manager is available on ITS’s Lyris List Essentials webpage.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we do our best to protect the privacy and security of our MSU Denver community.

Learn More about Information Security

Additional information about information security is available on the ITS security webpage as well as other websites including,?SANS, Anti-Phishing Working Group and? If you have any questions or concerns about information security, feel free to contact the ITS Helpdesk at 303-352-7548 or

Teaching & Learning

Curriculog Online Curriculum System

As of fall 2016, Curriculog, an intuitive online platform, is being used to automate the previous, paper-based curriculum review process. Curriculog allows users to automate curriculum workflow and approval processes, create customized curriculum proposal forms, schedule meetings and agendas, track proposal edits and approvals, and produce various types of reports.

Moreover, Curriculog seamlessly integrates with Acalog, the catalog management tool that MSU Denver already uses to create, organize and publish course information. With this integration, curriculum developers can automatically pull relevant proposal form fields from Acalog into the online proposals they are creating and curriculum administrators can automatically push curriculum updates to Acalog once final proposal approvals have occurred in Curriculog.

For added convenience, Curriculog is now part of MSU Denver’s single sign-on solution, so you can easily access it from the Faculty and Staff Hub and login using your NetID and password.

Electronic Student Ratings of Instruction

MSU Denver has used an electronic system, EvaluationKit, for the collection of the Student Ratings of Instruction (SRI) for online courses since Summer 2015. During the Spring and Summer 2016 terms, pilot tests were conducted to explore the usage of EvaluationKit for face-to-face courses as well. Overall, it was determined that the electronic SRI (eSRI) collection process provides greater convenience for students and faculty, minimizes data errors, and enables more efficient feedback to faculty. As a result, the eSRI Implementation Team has recommended a University-wide implementation of the eSRI collection process beginning this Fall semester.

Faculty, students, and administrators will receive multiple communications throughout the semester with important details about the new eSRI process. Additional information may also be found on the SRI webpage.

Teaching & Learning with Technology Symposium – Building Opportunities

All faculty, administrators, researchers, librarians, instructional technologists, and other educational superheroes are encouraged to register for the 5th Annual Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium (TLTS) scheduled for Friday, October 7, 2016. This FREE event serves as an interactive forum for exploring new ideas, innovative research, and expanded academic and technological boundaries.

This year, we're dedicated to Building Opportunities and opening new doors for all attendees. Here are just a few of the exciting elements that we hope will do just that:

  • Keynote - Michael Caulfield, Director of Blended and Networked Learning at WSU Vancouver
  • TLTS Mobile App (new for 2016) - Experience this year's event from the palm of your hand with the TLTS App.
  • Café Pédagogique - Join us after TLTS in the new Tivoli Taproom for collegial, but controversial, conversations about education and technology (limited to 40 attendees).

To register, please visit the TLTS 2016 website.

MSU Denver PITCH LX: Prospective Innovations in Teaching & Learning Experiences

MSU Denver will be introducing PITCH LX, a new event open to higher education professionals (faculty, staff, administrators, etc.), which culminates in a live “pitch-off” during the Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium (October 7, 2016). Select participants will deliver a one-minute pitch for an existing or theorized innovative idea which has the potential to significantly shape the future of teaching and learning with technology at MSU Denver and beyond. Following each pitch, a panel of experts will conduct a live Q&A/critique, and award points based on feasibility, creativity, and overall delivery. Prizes will be awarded, so innovative thinking and preparation is highly encouraged!

ICE CREAM Faculty Learning Community

MSU Denver offers various Instructional Computing Environments that are designed to meet specific academic needs and to enhance the teaching and learning experiences of faculty and students. The ICE solutions include Blackboard Learn, MSU Denver Sites, and custom VM (virtual machine) environments.

Faculty are invited to join a new Faculty Learning Community that will focus on how to best utilize the various ICE solutions. The ICE CREAM (Computing Resources Enhancing Academic Methodologies) FLC will provide opportunities for exploration, enable collaboration, and build additional outreach for faculty who are currently using, or would like to begin using, the various ICE environments. Faculty who are already using an ICE solution should join this FLC to share ideas, experiences, and best practices with other faculty and to explore additional ICE options available for implementation. New faculty and members of the campus community who are interested in using an ICE solution are also encouraged to join this FLC to find out how to request, implement, and utilize the various ICE options and learn from faculty who are already using them.

Janos Fustos, Ph.D., will facilitate the ICE CREAM FLC and Information Technology Services staff members will also be involved to provide information, technical and system administration advice, and support as needed. Contact Fustos if you are interested in joining the FLC. 

Streamlined Computer Lab Reservation Process

The ITS Educational Technology Center recently collaborated with the Office of the Registrar to streamline the academic computer lab and classroom reservation process by consolidating reservations for all learning spaces into a single process and system.

Benefits of this new process include:

  • Classroom and computer lab scheduling will be performed using the same process regardless of the type of class
  • Classes that utilize a computer lab will no longer also simultaneously reserve a traditional classroom by default
  • Administrative staff with scheduling rights can now also schedule classes in the thirteen computer labs
  • Whether classes meet in a room all semester, on alternating days, or only once a term, this change will ensure greater efficiency.

To reserve a computer lab, simply fill out the Ad Hoc Computer Lab Reservations form. Please note that the ITS Educational Technology Center also provides access to multiple PC or Mac laptop carts that can be reserved for use in any classroom. These carts can be reserved by contacting the ITS Helpdesk at 303-352-7548 or by entering a service ticket at

New Majors and Minors Email Lists

ITS recently created ‘majors’ and ‘minors’ email lists in the Lyris List Manager email distribution system. These lists include all of the students who are either majoring or minoring in programs within each academic department. The lists are always kept up-to-date via automatic enrollment information updates from Banner.

All department chairs will soon receive an email with information about their ‘majors’ and ‘minors’ lists and how to send emails to them. We hope the new email lists and the automated process for updating them will make it easier for departments to efficiently communicate with their students.

Blackboard Analytics

MSU Denver is in the initial phase of implementing Blackboard Analytics, a business analysis tool that offers students, instructors and advisors valuable data about courses, academic departments and student performance. Armed with the information Blackboard Analytics provides, students are more likely to remain engaged and on track to graduate, and faculty and advisors are better able to help students achieve success.

 Blackboard Analytics will:

  • integrate with Banner and Blackboard Learn for seamless data collection.
  • support the development of template and custom reports and dashboards.
  • visualize data to support decision-making in the areas of student success and retention.
  • help academic advisors identify at-risk students in time to intervene and assist.
  • allow faculty to track course activity and student performance, identify students at risk and maximize their use of Blackboard Learn.
  • inform students who may be at-risk in time for them to seek assistance.
  • help instructional design staff identify best practices, track course usage and measure the efficacy of existing course content.

MSU Denver’s implementation of Blackboard Analytics is facilitated by the ITS Educational Technology Center and ITS Application Services in conjunction with Team DELTA, and administrative and faculty stakeholders.

Connecting MSU Denver

During the 2016 Summer semester, MSU Denver supported our community by participating in Denver Public Schools' CareerConnect program. This innovative program was designed to provide high school students with real world career experience and placed approximately 200 students in various high-profile industries throughout Colorado. During the six-week internship program, students worked side-by-side with professionals, earning valuable life workplace skills, five academic credits and $1200, based upon their excellent performances.  

ITS hosted four talented Denver Public Schools sophomores. Two of the students worked with the ITS Helpdesk and Communications teams on the large-scale project of redesigning and redeveloping the ITS website and KnowledgeBase. During their internship, the students learned about basic HTML coding, Cascading Style Sheets, image editing and website hosting. They also gained hands-on experience using two important University systems - Terminal Four, the University’s web content management system, and Footprints, our service request ticketing system. Both students became valued members of the ITS team for the summer and we greatly benefited from their contribution.

The ITS Educational Technology Center was pleased to work with two of the interns, who joined the MSU Denver’s Instructional Design Team. During their internship, they were involved in various activities that focused on the application of media development for instruction. In addition to learning software applications for media development, they incorporated research, organization and collaboration of media components to facilitate the production of material for training and faculty cohorts. Some of these cohorts were very involved in learner communication, discussion board and theories in the online environment. Both students, under the supervision Sr. Instructional Designers Alex McDaniel and Taylor Kendal, and supported by additional members of the team, collaborated to organize and facilitate several faculty cohorts at our institution. Some of the many activities that they were involved in included: running a multimedia studio, video recording and editing, development of course materials and photography. In addition to all of their hard work, they played an important role in the development of media assets for the video production of our upcoming Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium.

Advising & Degree Planning

Degree Works

MSU Denver continues to implement the Degree Works Degree Progress Report, an academic advising tool that students use in conjunction with their advisors throughout their academic careers.

New and transfer students who are declared for the 2015-16 catalog year are currently using Degree Works for advising. The 2013-14 and 2014-15 catalogs will be in Degree Works by mid-October and the 2012-13 catalog will be in by the end of December. Once implemented, all students who are declared for those catalog years will use Degree Works rather than CAPP.

Accessing the correct system (Degree Works or CAPP) is easy, because when a student or faculty advisor signs on via the Student Hub or Faculty and Staff Hub, they will automatically be directed to the appropriate system based on the student’s declared catalog year.

If you have any questions about how to run a progress report, please contact the representative from your College/School. For more information about Degree Works in general, visit the Office of the Registrar’s Degree Progress Report webpage.


Student Success Collaborative–Campus

The Student Success Collaborative (SSC) is an innovative advising and retention software tool used by academic advisors to help at-risk students stay on track to graduate. MSU Denver recently upgraded to SSC Campus, an advanced version of SSC. SSC Campus includes the same features as the basic SSC program, but also has many additional features, such as creating and tracking the effectiveness of advising campaigns and an online advising appointment scheduling system.

SSC Campus may be easily accessed through the “Student Success Collaborative” tab on the Faculty and Staff Hub webpage.

Technology Resources & Support

ITS Client Services Updates

ITS is always working to improve your experiences with technology and help you solve problems faster. As such, we’ve recently made several changes to help serve you better.

  • Our online portal for submitting a Helpdesk ticket offers new ticketing features, a streamlined Web form, and a new URL:
  • You will receive fewer email messages from us regarding the tickets you submit, and the messages have an updated look.
  • Our two call centers have been consolidated, offering all clients a 24/7 single point of contact for all technical questions.

We hope these updates will make it easier for you to request our services.


Self-Service Software

MSU Denver faculty and staff can now download and install approved computer applications at their leisure using Software Self Service, which is available via the Asset Management Tools that are deployed on MSU Denver managed computers. 

Some of the well-known, approved applications currently available are:

  • Microsoft Office 2016 Suite
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Google Chrome
  • VLC Player
  • Tableau Reader

For information about how to use the Software Self Service feature, please visit the Self Service FAQ section of the Asset Management Program webpage.

Office 365 and Curriculog Added to Single Sign-on Solution

ITS continues to increase the number of online tools that students, faculty, and staff can log into using their MSU Denver NetID and password. We are pleased to announce that Office 365, which includes MSU Denver’s email system, and Curriculog were recently integrated into our single sign-on solution.  

To make it even more convenient, once you’ve logged in, you can navigate between the various systems that are part of the single sign-on solution without logging in again, until you’ve logged out of any of the systems. A complete list of these systems is available on the ITS Account Types webpage.

Faculty Load and Compensation (FLAC) Implementation

In an effort to help automate a once manual process for calculation of Affiliate Faculty compensation, MSU Denver recently implemented the Faculty Load and Compensation (FLAC) module in Banner, the University’s enterprise resource planning system. Usage of FLAC provides the following benefits:

  • Automates the creation of compensation records using the schedule assignments in the Banner Student system
  • Eliminates the need to mail compensation letters to Affiliate Faculty for semester workloads
  • Saves the time previously spent by departments manually calculating compensation and by Human Resources entering the data into Banner
  • Reduces the chance of calculation and data entry errors

The implementation of FLAC was a collaborative effort between the Registrar’s Office, Human Resources, College Department Administrators, the University’s Fiscal Managers and Information Technology Services.

SharePoint Implementation

Information Technology Services is in the initial phase of implementing SharePoint – an online collaboration tool – throughout MSU Denver. Part of the University’s Microsoft Office 365 suite, SharePoint allows teams of any size to work together more effectively and efficiently by enabling them to:

  • Collaborate at any time, anywhere, from any device via the Internet.
  • Share and co-author documents and information to reduce the risk of duplicated work and lapses in communication.
  • Manage documents’ lifecycles through a suite of tools such as version control, content approval and records management.
  • Easily search for University information such as documents, team discussions, important announcements, lessons learned, FAQ’s, team deliverables and upcoming events.
  • Create information in a centralized location that can be accessed across any type of device.
  • Engage with each other as well as others not on the team.
  • Have full control of how information is shared and published.
  • Participate in Communities of Practice/Interest to drive information sharing across the University.

Look for future updates on the SharePoint implementation in MSU Denver's daily e-newsletter.

ITS Spotlight

Meet the ITS Security Team

The Information Security team at MSU Denver handles the incident response, endpoint protection, and security architecture for the campus. The team currently consists of Mike Hart (CISO), David Schuette (Networking and Security Manager), Amparo Garcia (Network Security Engineer), Ben LeDoux (Information Security Administrator), along with student interns Stephen Chavez and Waleed Esslam.

From a high level, the Information Security team protect the network through the use of a layered security model that includes firewalls, endpoint protection, a monitored SIEM solution, and other tools to help protect the campuses infrastructure. Network protection includes mitigating malware outbreaks, resolving phishing attacks against the University as well as ensuring that the accounts of University staff, faculty, and students are safe and if compromised, are resolved to remove the malicious user and returned to the individual.

We would like to acknowledge this team's invaluable efforts to secure MSU Denver from cybersecurity treats of all types.


ITS Newsletter Footer?

Edit this page