Ontario Cybersecurity Higher Education Consortium (ON-CHEC)


In April 2017, ORION developed a shared Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) pilot to support five constituent universities and three constituent colleges. The initiative provided its members with cybersecurity expertise, while bringing tangible security guidelines for compliance, risk management, a governance framework, and a roadmap of broader shared IT security services.

As a result of recommendations from the community and the outcome of the two-year shared CISO pilot, ORION has launched the Ontario Cybersecurity Higher Education Consortium (ON-CHEC). This comes at a critical time in the academic arena when many of Ontario’s universities and colleges are challenged to address security risks for several reasons. IT budgets are strapped and provincial government funding is more limited than ever before, all as cyber threats are evolving at an ever-faster pace.

Challenges to our community (based on the input of pilot participants)

  • Lack of available cybersecurity talent
  • Skyrocketing cybersecurity salaries
  • Limited operating budgets
  • Organizational challenges
  • Existing security team caught up in day-to-day issues
  • Retention of cybersecurity talent

Cybersecurity for higher education

ON-CHEC provides cost-effective cybersecurity guidance, programs, and services to meet the needs of ORION’s community. This will be achieved through engaging with community to understand needs​ and enable/support national community cybersecurity programs. 

Key benefits for higher education

  • Provides a benchmark to assess members’ state of cyber readiness
  • Strengthens the sector’s collective cybersecurity posture, bolstering opportunities for collaboration
  • Enhances cybersecurity teams through expert guidance, shared frameworks, as well as knowledge management and continuity
  • Shares cybersecurity trends and updates on the threat landscape and best practices, ensuring members always have the latest information for their sector
  • Provides a scaled approach, allowing even those with smaller budgets to participate and contribute to a successful security program
  • Members are active participants, leveraging the expertise of the group to solve cybersecurity challenges together, while building much-needed skills within member organizations



Higher education support

Expert security advice

  • Trusted communication on critical cybersecurity issues
  • Expert speakers – on specific topics (e.g. CSC, CanCyber, Shared SOC operators, omni SOC)
  • Advice on security strategy and program management
  • Workshops for the executive management and board on security governance
  • Cybersecurity digests

Security guidelines

  • Access to sample ORION developed frameworks
  • Workshops and roundtable discussion on various guidelines

Security self-assessment

  • Kick off and scoping workshops for self-assessment
  • Facilitation workshops on field work and collection of responses
  • Compilation of self-assessment responses and reporting
  • Benchmarking and comparison of self-assessment scores

Advice and guidance on security road map and program

  • Assessment of the security program and roadmap against best practices and alignment with organizational objectives
  • Advice on the adequacy of resources for key activities of the security roadmap


Contact us

Contact our account representatives to discuss membership rates to customize a solution at a preferred rate 416.507.9860 or communitydev@orion.on.ca.