Universities and colleges feel secure, but smart phones will change that

Despite the increased news coverage of malware and other Web-basedattacks (see Conficker and Gumblar), a new survey is suggesting that ITadministrators at Canadian and American universities and colleges feelsafe.

The survey, conducted by Association for Information CommunicationsTechnology Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA), found that 84 percent of respondents felt their campus networks are more secure now thanfive years ago.

But despite these findings, I tend to disagree and looking deeperinto the survey results, it is easy to see that many of these ITadministrators could be a little overconfident.

Significant security breaches were reported by almost half of therespondents and the area most of the polled IT professionals consideredto be most vulnerable was in the emerging usage of mobile devices. Thesurvey found that 35 per cent of respondents consider smart phones andother mobile devices as a weak link in their security infrastructure.

This is certainly a segment of the market that will only continue togrow, with new threats likely to pop up in the coming years. Mostsecurity analysts I’ve talked to have admitted that while mobileattacks are still very low today, this is the area to watch as smartphones become a more prevalent computing platform.

And the warning signs were not limited to the mobile space either.While 72 per cent of respondents said their schools do have individualsor teams dedicated to security, only 18 per cent of schools useenhanced logins.

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