C-Level View :: October 11, 2006

Worth Noting

Annual Campus Computing Survey Results Released

Campus Computing
Courtesy Campus Computing Project

The Campus Computing Project has released its 2006 National Survey of Information Technology in U.S. Higher Education. Among the many areas studied, the comprehensive survey report highlights a milestone. Wireless networks now reach more than half (51.2 percent) of college classrooms. And the report passes along the good news that security incidents actually declined in the past year.

But the picture isn’t so simple, especially related to security issues. The report flags potential problems related to exposures of data on servers not controlled by IT. “There’s a tension about distributed computing and security protocols on many campuses,” says Campus Computing founder Casey Green. “Research labs, academic departments, and service units often want to manage their own data and their own hardware. But the survey data confirm recent news reports from individual colleges and universities that servers not managed by central IT services may be particularly vulnerable to hack attacks.”

Other topics of particular interest included disaster planning, still a challenge for higher education institutions, with little more than half (55.7 percent) of participating institutions reporting that they have a strategic plan for IT disaster recovery. The study reports that this is not much of an increase over the past two years. And open source is winning cautious optimism, inching up slightly over recent years in responses to questions measuring support.

Started in 1990, the Campus Computing Project is widely recognized as maintaining the largest continuing study of computing and information technology in U.S. higher education. Executive summaries are posted as free downloads each year on the Campus Computing Project Web site, and the longer report may be ordered for a modest fee.

CDW Security Report Card

CDW Government Inc. this week released the results of the CDW-G Higher Education IT Security Report Card 2006, which surveyed 182 higher education directors and managers from a range of types and sizes of institutions across the U.S. about IT security in the higher education environment.

The study, done in partnership with research and consulting firm Eduventures Inc., reports that 58 percent of the higher education directors/managers surveyed experienced at least one IT security incident in the past year. Analysts point out that at an average of 4,097 students per U.S. higher education institution, the number of potentially impacted students could top three million. The study gives “grades” for administration, faculty, and students based on the survey data, and also provides recommendations.

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