Top 10 finish for Otago University IT services

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The University of Otago has been named 10th in the top 100 ITusing organisations in New Zealand, according to CIO magazine.
‘We have to protect
our corporate
systems, the underlying fabric of the network and the information in our data centres. It’s quite a challenging
environment’
The magazine’s annual special edition CIO100 report ranks New Zealand organisations by a formula which includes screen numbers, IT staff numbers, user numbers and turnover.
University of Otago IT director Mike Harte said the university, which ranked 19th last year, had 20,000 students with their own devices, such as laptops, tablets and smart phones, and they expected to be able to connect to the network instantly.
‘‘We have to be able to support that. The infrastructure behind that has to be structured to cope with it, but protect it as well,’’ Mr Harte said.
‘‘We’re a bit different from a commercial enterprise where you have total control over the infrastructure — you have everything locked down, you control the devices, you configure them in the same way, the staff have very little control over what they can do.
‘‘In a university environment we have all these students arriving with their own devices. We have no control over how they’re configured, what software they have or even whether they have anti-virus.
‘‘We also have staff and academics who need the freedom to do their research and be innovative.’’
It was important for the university network to be open and easily connected to, but also secure against outside threats, he said.
‘‘We have to protect our corporate systems, the underlying fabric of the network and the information in our data centres. It’s quite a challenging environment.’’
The CIO process to choose companies for the top 100 involved evaluating whether they used IT in innovative ways to deliver a competitive advantage to their organisation, and enable growth.
Mr Harte said the biggest projects the university was working on this year included upgrading the university network between buildings on each of its five campuses — in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, and Invercargill — and installing Wi-Fi networks across all the campuses.
Otago was the second university in the top 100 behind the University of Auckland, which finished second overall.
‘‘It’s not in terms of importance, it’s the size of IT operation,’’ Mr Harte said.