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Study Identifies Challenges in IT Security and Crisis Management

November 13, 2007

Despite such tragic events such as Hurricane Katrina, and the shootings at Virginia Tech and Delaware State, approximately two out of five colleges and universities (40%) have yet to complete or update their IT disaster plans. This finding, from the 2007 edition of The Campus Computing Project study, becomes particularly critical in light of the need to notify students during a crisis.

Currently, most institutions rely on e-mail (66%), Web site portals (63%) and campus phone services (45%) to communicate with students.  Other, less common, methods of communication include cell phones (22.1%) and off-campus phones (18%).

Additional findings from the study include:

  • Campus officials consider “network and data security” as the single most important IT issue on campus, as has been the case for the past four years. This top concern is followed by “upgrading/replacing administrative IT/campus ERP systems” and “hiring/retaining qualified IT staff.”

  • More than half (57%) of campus officials agree that "Open Source will play an increasingly important role in our campus IT strategy." Only 28 percent, however, believe that Open Source "offers a viable alternative" for key campus administrative or ERP applications.

  • Colleges and universities have increased their use of Open Source Learning Management Systems (LMS). Of campuses using an LMS, the largest percentage reports using Moodle (7.8%), with Sakai ranked second (3%).

  • Most institutions (83%) have policies to address inappropriate peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading of music and movies on campus networks. Seven out of 10 institutions (71%) report that students who violate P2P policies can lose their network privileges. A small number of institutions (13%) even have mandatory user education programs to educate students about copyright and P2P issues.

To view the executive summary of the study, which is conducted annually, visit the Campus Computing Project Web site. The full report detailing the 2007 results will be available December 10, 2007.