POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION NETWORK SECURITY: 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 office application software literacy for today’s typical employee. Coping with technology security issues is not something that can be simply assimilated through personal experiences. Currently, research of young adults and students indicates that 7 out of 10 frequently ignore IT policies, and 3 of 5 believe they are not responsible for protecting information and devices. In the past, fallout from 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 some 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. This is because: a) the students are effectively part of the institutions networks as end-users with needs that must be addressed, b) because preparing students for life after college is an implied and accepted part of the role of the educational institution, and c) because students are the schools “product” and represent the school to everyone they interface with after graduation.
Just as business organizations are increasingly requiring their members to undergo annual or semi-annual PC-based ethical and security awareness training, 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 CIS Department at Mount Olive College is addressing the challenge of technology/business computer security literacy by implementing a new e-learning solution. A customized, self-paced, web-based end user digital security awareness tutorial was created. This learning activity reinforces student retention of the material presented by providing questions at the end of each learning module to reinforce learning. As students become proficient at using security best practices, their proficiency, confidence, and student engagement in the class material increases. Since more classes require the use of computing technology in completing assignments, students enhance their progress throughout their undergraduate program and increasing the probability of program completion.