Several Big Ten universities, including Indiana University and Purdue University, have launched a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity operations center. OmniSOC is a subscription service that provides members with functional cyber intelligence to help them respond to cyber threats.

OmniSOC is hosted at IU, and founded by five universities: IU, Purdue, Northwestern, Rutgers and Nebraska. The system helps members avoid cyber attacks through threat detection and data sharing. OmniSOC Executive Director Tom Davis "With tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff, university campuses are really like small cities, with sensitive data and powerful computing systems that are coveted by cyber criminals."  "Protecting hundreds of thousands of devices and critical data requires expertise, systems, policies and rapid response when new vulnerabilities become known. While campus-by-campus approaches are essential, they are not sufficient for the sophistication of modern cyber risks. The OmniSOC enhances the work of local security professionals to provide greater real-time, sophisticated threat detection, analysis and action for our members."

OmniSOC uses information and experience from GlobalNOC, the Global Research Network Operations Center, which provides various services to government and education networks across the country. The system uses real-time data feeds from each member campus to identify nefarious activity, then provides rapid response. OmniSOC also works closely with the Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center at IU, which helps promote cybersecurity defense and information sharing among its 580 members in the higher education community. 

Purdue Chief Information Security Officer Greg Hedrick says higher education is for the most part an open environment "so we often see cyber crimes that others have not." "By allowing us to monitor across higher education, OmniSOC helps to improve our capabilities to identify and react more quickly to these bad actors. My hope is that this information can be shared with others outside of our community in order to protect the entire ecosystem."

OmniSOC plans to eventually expand membership beyond Big Ten universities. For more information on how OmniSOC works, click here.