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Tripwire Donates Cybersecurity Analytics Cloud Service to Penn State

Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) has received a multi-million dollar donation of software for use in the school's Center for Cyber Security, Information Privacy and Trust. The LIONS Center, as it's called, performs inter-disciplinary research in cybersecurity and privacy. Tripwire, a security company, has donated its cloud-based service, Benchmark, to IST. Benchmark was originally created to help security executives communicate their security profile to others in the organization. Now the LIONS Center will run it instead. Penn State values the donation at $11.75 million and proclaims it the largest single contribution IST has ever received.

Benchmark has software and services that provide analytics on security performance to help organizations show the efficacy of their security investments and resources; identify areas of weakness that may require additional investment; benchmark security against internal goals and industry peers; and monitor security metrics over time.

The program has a catalog with "Scorecard Packs." Each pack contains what's needed to assess performance for a specific security discipline or compliance framework — or to compare results against industry benchmarks. To participate, an organization joins a benchmark community to contribute anonymized data that forms the data from which the analytics derive. Five communities are currently available: vulnerability management, configuration auditing, antivirus and endpoint protection, identity and access management and patch management.

IST has taken on management of Benchmark as a research, educational and community endeavor. As a cloud-based service, Benchmark transforms the large volumes of data produced by security applications into metrics and key performance indicators and represents them in scorecard form. The school expects to expand on the metrics developed by the system and use the data for research projects.

"This very significant gift provides unique opportunities for the College of IST for research, education and outreach," said David Hall, dean of IST. "Our research in cyber security, big data analytics and discovery, and human-computer interaction match very well with Tripwire's evolving database and toolkit. We will be able to use this gift in classroom exercises and in the curricula for our undergraduate Security and Risk Analysis major and graduate program in Cyber Security and Information Assurance.

IST's advisory board includes Rod Murchison, vice president of product management for Tripwire and a Penn State alumnus.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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