POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION NETWORK SECURITY: RESULTS OF ADDRESSING THE END USER CHALLENGE
Today, irrespective of what career field a college graduate enters, personal computer literacy is a given requirement. Personal computer security literacy is rapidly becoming as important as computer application software literacy for today’s typical employee. However, coping with technology security issues is not something that can be simply assimilated through personal experiences. Current research of young adults and students indicates that 7 out of 10 frequently ignore IT policies, and 3 of 5 young adults and students believe they are not responsible for protecting information and/or hardware devices. In the past, any consequences from employee/student poor IT habits was buffered by the IT department's iron control over the infrastructure. There were no smartphones, Facebook, Twitter or Google to become a security hole as there are today. Schools have a vested interest in “biting the bullet” by assigning resources to the issue and ensuring that their students receive a minimum of personal computer security training just as they should ensure their graduates are computer literate in the use of business application software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and database access.
Familiarity with PC security and protocol in important because:
a) the students are effectively part of the institutions networks as end-users with needs that must be addressed,
b) students must be prepared for life after college; an implied and accepted part of the role of the educational institution,
c) students are the schools “product” and represent the school to everyone they interface with after graduation.
Ttraining, educational institutions may wish to consider emulating this for their staff, faculty and students on the topic of personal computer-end user security best practices. The MIS program at Mount Olive College is addressing the challenge of technology computer security literacy by implementing a new e-learning solution; and, a customized, self-paced, web-based end user digital security awareness tutorial was created. When students progress through the various computer security tutorials, their proficiency and confidence increases; and, increased proficiency and confidence can be linked to better student engagement inside the classroom. Because all freshmen at Mount Olive College are required to take a course which embeds the best practices of computer security within the tutorial, the aforementioned benefits carry over to a myriad of other courses. Because students have a greater awareness of basic computer security, instructors are able to shift their time and energy from “putting out fires” to focusing on higher-level feedback on assignments and administrative functions. A survey was developed to study and quantify the student perception of the usefulness of an online PC security end-user tutorial. The results of this study suggest that exposure to a PC security tutorial does positively impact young adults and that these factors can positively impact student success and program completion - a key aspect of program quality. As programs come under increasing scrutiny in terms of measuring learning outcomes, completion rates, and student success, faculty may wish to consider the advantages of recurrent PC security tutorial exposure to their students.