Derek Spransy wins 2017 Award of Distinction

Derek Spransy

Derek Spransy, who works in IT Security as the lead information security specialist, is one of fourteen Emory employees selected as this year’s winners of the Emory University Award of Distinction. Since 1985, the award has annually recognized staff members who have made outstanding contributions to the Emory community.

Honorees were celebrated at a dinner on Oct. 19 with Emory President Claire Sterk and received a $1,000 award.

According to the person who nominated Derek, he “has had a tremendous impact on improving the safety and security of Emory’s IT resources and sensitive data. He is the driving force behind implementing a comprehensive suite of security controls that have dramatically improved Emory’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to cyber-related threats.”

Derek introduces Duo dual-factor authentication at the IT Briefing.

As Emory’s primary responder for these threats, Derek has led the investigative efforts of events such as identity theft, direct deposit fraud, health savings account fraud, SPAM and phishing attacks, advanced attacks by nation state actors and multiple data breaches. He has been particularly adept at detecting incidents early, leading effective responses to minimize the impact and then devising controls to help protect against similar events in the future.”

Derek has also led efforts to proactively improve Emory’s security. These include the deployment of Duo two factor authentication; the disk encryption on 4,500 laptops and 12,000 mobile devices to protect sensitive data stored on them; an enterprise-wide email encryption solution to enable secure email communications with outside parties; and periodic internal email phishing exercises to reduce the Emory community’s susceptibility.

He is frequently called upon to work collaboratively across multiple organizations, often during times of immense stress. His ability to work extended hours when in crisis mode, stay calm under pressure and translate complex information about security events into understandable plans has made him an endeared colleague to many groups across the university.

“Awards like these aren’t won in isolation,” says Derek. “Emory’s leadership understands the importance of information security, and I work with a great team. All that we do is made possible because of supportive leadership and good teamwork.”

Added Derek, “It’s exciting to work at Emory and the job of trying to protect our information resources is a daily challenge. I look forward to helping IT leadership develop its security strategy for years to come.”

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