Cyber Security

AIHEC’s Cybersecurity Initiative will provide the coordinating support, including support resources and capacity building strategies, needed by the nation’s 35 accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) to ensure that they have sustainable and adaptable cybersecurity policies and practices in place to protect their institutions as the TCUs build their data-intensive research and education programs. This includes addressing issues such as information security governance, compliance, data protection, and privacy management capabilities. In response to global cybersecurity challenges, AIHEC has worked over the past several years to build a cyberinfrastructure advisory support team and network to advise and assist TCUs, and build their capacity, as they evolve their cyberinfrastructure (CI) to adapt to changing research opportunities and advance their institutional goals. In addition to growing a TCU CI/cybersecurity CoP, AIHEC will help guide TCUs in making informed decisions when selecting providers and partners to support and strengthen their cybersecurity and reduce their risk profile. Experiences and best practices will be shared with the TCU CI/cybersecurity CoP, thus leveraging TCU experiences and lessons learned. Unlike larger research institutions, the individual TCUs have small, under-resourced IT departments too limited to assess, secure, and monitor the network vulnerabilities that expose the education and research missions of the institution.

CI Team

The AIHEC CI Team advances the STEM and education programs at the nation’s 37 TCUs by implementing a comprehensive CI capacity-building strategy that focuses both on the colleges’ STEM faculty and CI support staff. With support from external partners and regional institutions, this comprehensive CI strategy focuses on CI training, planning, and community-building involving both STEM faculty and TCU IT organizations, providing the resources, technical assistance and national network to advance participating TCUs toward CI-readiness and CI-enabled STEM research and education programs. A sustained TCU community of CI practice facilitates collaborations among STEM faculty and IT department personnel at the TCUs and with national CI partners, broadening dissemination of research computing best practices and shared technical knowledge and skills. In AIHEC CI team’s usage, the term “cyberinfrastructure”, or (CI), encompasses all the social and technical information technology (IT) resources that are necessary to connect laboratories, data, hardware, and people that support academic research at the TCUs.

Please contact Alex Grandon (Agrandon@aihec.org) if your Tribal College is interested in joining the TCU Cybersecurity Initiative.

AIHEC Cyber Partners



The AIHEC CI Team hosts the Jenzabar Tribal College Community of Practice (JTC) comprises all 19 of the TCUs that operate Jenzabar as their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The JTC meets every three weeks to discuss training, performance, and support issues associated with Jenzabar systems. All TCU staff who work with Jenzabar system are welcome to join.  

Primary outcomes or results: 

The JTC is designed to achieve three objectives or results. 

  1. Increase the awareness of Jenzabar issues that are impacting the Tribal College community. 
  2. Work together to share best practices and tackle common Jenzabar challenges that impact the TCU community of Jenzabar users. 
  3. Invite Jenzabar representatives or trusted vendors and experts to provide support for common Jenzabar issues. 

Previous Topic Areas Include: 

  • Hiring a TCU-Shared Database Administrator 
  • Re-negotiation of the TCU Master Jenzabar Agreement 
  • Understanding the Jenzabar annual cost to each TCU 
  • Inventory of the current modules used by the TCU Community of users 
  • Sharing Training Costs Across multiple TCUs 

The Jenzabar TCU Community of Practice meets every third week on Wednesdays at 2pm CT. 

Please contact Alex Grandon for an invitation to the community of practice. 





AIHEC, North Dakota State University, and the North Dakota TCUs Work on Building IT Capacity.

AIHEC will partner with institutional partners Sitting Bull College (SBC), Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC), United Tribes Technical College (UTTC), Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC), Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC), and North Dakota State University (NDSU) to establish the socio-technical foundations of a North Dakota research infrastructure that supports the current STEM research and education programs at the institutions and provides the framework for aggressive research program development. The ND Cyber Team enhances opportunities for economic development and enhances the design and delivery of health, education, and other services developed through cyberinfrastructure-enabled applied and pure research. The ND Cyber Team is divided into two main components, a technical team and a academic/research team. The technical ND Cyber Team is devoted to working with the IT staff and directors at the institutions to build IT capacity and share best practices in common technical areas while the academic/research ND Cyber Team works to engage students, STEM faculty, and college staff in developing computational resources for their curriculum and research. 


The MS-CC emerged from an NSF-funded pilot project that was awarded through Clemson University, NSF OAC #1659297 – “CC* Cyber Team: Cyberinfrastructure Empowerment for Diverse Research, Scholarship, and Workforce Development (CI Empower).



“AIHEC hosts a Community of Practice focusing on campus technology.”


The AIHEC Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Team hosts the Tribal College and University IT Directors Community of Practice once every three weeks to tackle topics in information technology that impact the Tribal College community. 


Primary outcomes or results: 

The IT Directors Community of Practice has three primary objectives: 

  1. Share best practices and work together to address common IT challenges that impact the Tribal College and University community. 
  1. Provide expert support from the AIHEC CI team and colleagues in the national CI community. 
  2. Increase understanding of information technology issues that are impacting the Tribal College community 

Previous Topic Areas Include: 

  • Professional development opportunities with Cisco Academy 
  • Broadband access on Tribal Lands 
  • Cybersecurity: policies and practices for managing vulnerabilities 
  • Cyberinfrastructure strategic planning 
  • IT Funding Opportunities 
  • COVID-19 Pandemic / CARES Act Relief Funding / Distance and E-Learning 
  • Exploration of a model for sharing a database administrator across multiple TCUs 
  • New classroom technologies

The TCU IT Directors Community of Practice meets every third week on Wednesdays at 2pm CT. 
Please contact Alex Grandon for an invitation to join.