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Cybersecurity Education & Awareness

The Security Task Force’s strategic goal associated with Education and Awareness is “to increase the awareness of the associated risks of computer and network use and the corresponding responsibilities of higher education executives and end users of technology (faculty, staff, and students) and to further the professional development of information technology staff.”  Recognizing “awareness”, “training”, and “education” as part of a “learning continuum” (see Schou, Frost, and Maconachy), the Security Task Force is primarily focused on cybersecurity awareness and training

We also seek to work collaboratively with our academic partners, including the Centers for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, the NSF Advanced Technological Education Centers, the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education, Association for Computing Machinery, Computing Research Association, and other academic programs or associations committed to cybersecurity training, education, professional development, and research.

Initiatives under this strategic goal are developed and implemented by the Education and Awareness (E&A) Working Group of the Security Task Force that is co-chaired by Mark Bruhn (Indiana University) and Kelley Bogart (University of Arizona).  In January 2004, the working group convened at a workshop in Baltimore, Maryland, to develop a set of recommendations and associated tasks to improve cybersecurity awareness in the higher education community.  The recommendations included, among other things, steps to help colleges and universities observe Cyber Security Day in April 2004, development of a cybersecurity awareness toolkit (CD currently in development), and plans for National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October 2004.  The E&A working group also contributed to the legislative testimony that I delivered in April 2004. 

Because of our focus on awareness, the Security Task Force is a supporter of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) - a unique partnership among the Federal government, leading private sector companies, trade associations, and educational organizations.  The NCSA aims to educate Americans about the need for computer security and encourages computer users to protect their home and small business systems.  EDUCAUSE is also the home to the new executive director of the NCSA. 

The Security Task Force is addressing the professional development needs of security professionals through the EDUCAUSE & Internet2 Security Professionals Conference.  The 3rd annual conference will be held on April 3-5, 2005, in Washington, D.C.  This year, the combination of a full-day pre-conference seminar, half-day pre-conference seminars, and a half-day post-conference seminar will permit more training opportunities than in the past.  The E&A working group is also exploring how it can support and promote training and professional development at the regional, state, and campus level, too.

If your institution has cybersecurity awareness initiatives underway or if you are doing creative things in this area, I would appreciate it if you would drop me a line (rpetersen@educause.edu) so I can learn more about your efforts.  Additionally, I would encourage to provide more information about your cybersecurity awareness program by completing the information requested as part of the Effective Security Practices submission form.

More cybersecurity awareness resources are available in the new online Resource Center.

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