AGB, ISA, and AIG to Issue Guidance on Cyber-Risk Oversight for Board Members of Higher Education Institutions and Foundations in Wake of COVID-19

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New Partnership Aims to Help Boards Navigate the Complexities of Cybersecurity Risk as Virtual Learning Expands Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the premier organization representing higher education governance; the Internet Security Alliance (ISA), comprising chief information security officers of Fortune 100 companies across critical sectors; and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), a leading global insurance organization, today announced plans to develop a new resource on cyber-risk oversight in higher education. This essential resource will help boards navigate the complex, multifaceted issue of cybersecurity risk as colleges and universities around the world have transitioned to online education in the wake of COVID-19 closing campuses. The internet has never been more essential to higher education.

This handbook, the first of its kind for higher education, will provide guidance to boards as they help oversee cybersecurity risk at a time when cyber attacks represent a growing threat. This new resource will build on a highly respected manual developed by ISA for corporate directors and will reflect the unique needs of higher education, informed by insights from board members, presidents, and senior executives. AGB members who are interested in participating in a workshop to provide input on the new handbook and review the draft manuscript should contact AGBContent@AGB.org to learn more.

“Sources including Moody’s Investors Service have reported that cyber attacks are a growing risk for higher education institutions globally,” said Larry Clinton, ISA president and CEO and author of the manual. “Colleges and universities require significant personal and sensitive data from students, parents, alumni, vendors, and global partners, and that information is shared far and wide across college campuses and departments. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, legacy systems, insufficient training, and a lack of IT investment, that data is at risk of being compromised.”

According to cybersecurity experts, colleges and universities are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks due to their open and networked environments, decentralized IT networks, the widespread use of social media and personal technology, and multiple entry points. Compounding the vulnerability is the amount of data institutions have that is valuable to cyber thieves, including intellectual property, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, financial data, and medical information for current and former students, employees, and trustees, as well as patients in academic medical centers.

“Strategic governing boards can play an important role in helping their colleges, universities, and foundations, which are more vulnerable, oversee cyber risks,” said Henry Stoever, AGB president and CEO. “This guidebook will be critical to helping trustees develop the background and knowledge to oversee this issue.”

Tracie Grella, Global Head of Cyber Insurance at AIG added, “This manual will provide college and university leaders with critical insights to make informed policy decisions that help manage cyber risk. With staff and faculty working from home, and millions of students studying online, understanding and mitigating these complex risks is essential for institutions of higher learning.”

The handbook will be developed in partnership between AGB, ISA, and AIG and will be applicable to board members of private and public higher education institutions and foundations. The digital version of the handbook will be available to AGB members and all other interested leaders at no cost later in 2020.

The original, corporate-focused editions of the handbook developed by ISA were recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and PwC and have been utilized by thousands of corporate directors, investors, regulators, and other governance stakeholders around the world.

About AGB
The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) is the premier membership organization that strengthens higher education governing boards and the strategic roles they serve within their organizations. Through our vast library of resources, educational events, and consulting services, and with nearly 100 years of experience, we empower 40,000 AGB members from more than 2,000 institutions and foundations to navigate complex issues, implement leading practices, streamline operations, and govern with confidence. AGB is the trusted resource for board members, chief executives, and key administrators on higher education governance and leadership. For more information, visit http://www.AGB.org.

About ISA
The Internet Security Alliance (ISA) is a trade association with members from virtually every critical industry sector. ISA’s mission is to integrate advanced technology with economics and public policy to create a sustainable system of cybersecurity. ISA pursues three goals: thought leadership, policy advocacy, and promoting sound security practices. In addition to collaborating with NACD and directors’ organizations around the world, ISA’s public policy prescriptions articulated in the “Cybersecurity Social Contract” have been embraced as the model for government policy by both Republicans and Democrats. For more information, visit http://www.isalliance.org.

About AIG
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organization. AIG companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement solutions, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. These diverse offerings include products and services that help businesses and individuals protect their assets, manage risks and provide for retirement security. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Additional information about AIG can be found at http://www.aig.com.

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