The ‘Kunstuniversität Linz’ has around 1,500 students from about 60 countries, 40 professors and 450 artistic and scientific staff, plus almost 130 administrative employees. The range of courses includes art, design, and media in all variations. There are 12 Bachelor’s programmes, 14 Master’s programmes, one diploma programme and one PhD programme at four institutes: for fine arts and cultural studies, for art and education as teaching subjects, for media, space and design.
The Kunstuniversität Linz has always been closely connected with its surroundings’ people, culture and economy: the Ars Electronica, a multitude of art institutions and a lively independent scene, numerous creative companies and a strong industry.
Research and teaching focus on interactivity, digitalisation, sustainability and interdisciplinary, practice-oriented work. The spectrum ranges from architecture, fashion & technology, fine arts, art education, industrial design, interface cultures, and time-based and interactive media art to art and media theory, cultural studies and design studies. The University of Artistic and Industrial Design Linz thrives on this mix. Four profile-forming focal points have been defined for the coming years:
- Art: Contemporary and Future,
- Post-Digital Cultures,
- Sustainable and Critical Design, and
- Transformative Research and Education.
Creativity in art and IT
The demands on universities IT are much more complex than in many other companies and organisations, where the structures can be well defined, and coordinated hardware and software combinations are serviced.
‘The demands on the IT infrastructure for an artistic operation are far more challenging, taking into account the different creative demands of individual fields of study,’ notes Johannes Kremser, Head of Communication & Server Systems. So it’s not just a matter of offering established solutions and best practices in IT, but consciously trying out new ideas – all within a stable, appropriate service and taking security aspects into account.
Many people first think of traditional areas such as design or painting when they hear ‘art university’. However, the focus of many degree programmes is now in the digital field. This includes courses such as Industrial Design, Interface Cultures or Visual Communication.
‘With a team of 13 employees, we look after over 1,500 students and almost 600 people in the academic and administrative areas, with 1st and 2nd level support being carried out internally. The 3rd level support is outsourced for capacity reasons,’ Johannes Kremser describes the situation.
Indispensable in an emergency: IKARUS incident.response
Cyber security incidents can affect any company or organisation and do not even stop at scientific institutions. For example, around 7,500 Microsoft Exchange servers in Austria could have been compromised by the widely communicated security vulnerability in spring 2021. As a result, affected systems are vulnerable to ransomware attacks or data theft.
‘This scenario triggered us to look for a provider as quickly as possible from whom we could get professional support at short notice. Based on a recommendation, we came across IKARUS,’ Johannes Kremser describes the beginning of the cooperation. ‘It was important to us that the parameters of the speed of response, low effort on our part and the best possible output were met. The IKARUS team supported us very professionally in the analysis and recovery of the affected systems,’ Johannes Kremser sums up the situation at that time.
In addition to managing sensitive data of employees and students, there are numerous projects in cooperation with industry, for example, the Industrial Design course. In principle, an art university also faces potential dangers such as data mining or blackmail attempts to resale e-mail addresses.
The cooperation with an Austrian company was also decisive. ‘It’s not the cheapest bidder that gets the job, but the best bidder. We also appreciate the availability and smooth communication with the IKARUS team,’ says Johannes Kremser, who is satisfied with the cooperation.
IKARUS incident.response is provided in partnership with Mandiant, the global threat intelligence and incident response leader. ‘The IKARUS IR service guarantees contact with our local system engineers and security analysts within the shortest possible time in the event of a security incident or a corresponding suspicion,’ says Christian Fritz, COO of IKARUS: ‘In addition, the global experts and tools of Mandiant are available to us at any time for the analysis and clean-up of far-reaching incidents.’
Be prepared for new (creative) ideas
‘The ‘Kunstuni Linz’ sees itself as a place of unrestricted, courageous and visionary thinking as well as an artistic, critical experimentation zone. In progressive digitalisation, IT must also be prepared for new trends. For this purpose, it is constantly necessary on the IT side to monitor relevant developments and optimise existing ones in order to be able to offer the departments suitable solutions promptly,’ is how Joannes Kremser sees the future challenges for his department. Hand in hand with this goes the increase in security measures to protect the systems against malware and unwanted external access.