It’s a diamond in the rough, a hidden gem and a safeguard in our own backyard. The Institute for Information Security (iSec) is the University of Tulsa’s premier cyber security program, and not too many know about it.
Information security is not something new to TU. The university has been one of the leading schools in the country for more than a decade, but a few years ago TU officials brought on David Greer, iSec’s executive director, to help develop the program into something more, which has since led to the launch of the institute.
“We’re focusing on a multidisciplinary approach to the research,” he explains. “We’re not just working with our computer science faculty and researchers, but with our mechanical engineering, business school and law school professors. We are evolving to be able to handle any type of research problem with a cyber screening focus that comes into TU from beginning to end.”
iSec has been working with and receiving widespread recognition from government agencies for their efforts, which has propelled Tulsa into the inner circle for information security research and development. Not only does iSec look at all sides of a problem, but it also develops novel solutions with practical applications, according to Greer.
“We are really agile and flexible in any research need that comes into our institute,” he says. “We can test a problem theatrically through computer science, we can design a solution through our electrical engineering department, we can build it through our mechanical engineering department, we can look at the commercialization aspects of it through the business school and we can look at the legal implications of it in the law school.”
Computer science graduate Zach Harbort says he thinks iSec is a good program, and he’s having a blast with the work he does at TU.
“It is a hidden gem, and that is for a good reason,” he says. “We work with a lot of sensitive materials, and it isn’t always public knowledge.”
The program is not only helping government agencies and the university, but students like Harbort as well. He says the experience he is getting at TU is substantially beneficial.
“I get to work with a lot of government-funded technology that most people don’t have a chance to ever use in their lifetime,” he explains. “I’m exposed to new technology and developing software for different government platforms and I’ll have an advantage over most students going into the industry because of that.”