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This is one in an occasional series of profiles of Carolina’s IT professionals who serve as liaisons in the Information Security Liaison (ISL) program, led by the Information Security Office within ITS. 

Keith Gerarden
Keith Gerarden

Keith Gerarden

Position: Interim Director of Client Services and Support, a division within UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine Information Technology

IT support for the department: Supporting and facilitating the hard work that the Client Services and Support team does every day. 

About School of Medicine IT: Our work is broad. Nearly 120 people collectively work in our SOM IT divisions, handling things like infrastructure, back-end operations, security and privacy. Our divisions include Academic Technology, which handles everything from working with the medical curriculum folks and providing video conferencing services and support; Project Management Office, which helps keep us all on track on our different initiatives; Application, Web and Data; and others.

Career: Has worked in IT in the School of Medicine 2005, initially with the Office of Information Systems, then in the Department of Medicine and now in the larger School of Medicine IT Department. Keith has served as an ISL for many years.

Personal: Being outdoors as much as possible, riding bikes, working on a family farm and maintaining a couple of small rental properties. He also grows mushrooms and sells them at a farm stand.

What do you see as the biggest threat to your users? What is the main thing you try to talk to them about?

We have lots of great technical tools but it’s very hard to prevent intentional or unknowing bad user behavior from causing significant harm. We all tend to want to be helpful people so our default is “yes, of course, let me see what I can do.” When there’s a spear-phishing attack or another kind of attack, people tend to not be suspicious enough. It’s understandable that the average person might not be as hesitant to click on something or perform an action as we would be as ISLs. 

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