Upcoming Changes to U of S Computer Security

Members of the Executive of the Faculty Association, including our Senior Grievance Officer, Patricia Farnese, had an opportunity to discuss forthcoming changes to computer security with senior ICT staff, including Associate Vice-President of Information and Communication Technology, Shari Baraniuk.

The plan includes increasing the security around sensitive institutional information, but also requirements for more security measures on “end point devices” (your laptop and desktop machines) that can be used to gain access to the University’s networks.

The ICT team understands that how faculty use computers varies widely on campus, from those who build software and hardware to those who only want a reliable word processor, email system and browser.  Therefore, a one-size fits all approach is not being proposed. Rather, the ICT team is committed to working with faculty to ensure that effective and appropriate security measures are put in place for every end point device.

The Association was presented with a draft copy of a proposed user agreement to be put in place once measures are fully implemented and was invited to provide comments and input. The ICT team is aware that the Collective Agreement states that computer files and electronic mail shall not be examined, and we are continuing to discuss ways to ensure privacy rights are respected while addressing security. Notwithstanding these concerns, the USFA recognizes that recent cyber attacks at other Canadian Universities underscore the real threats information breaches present to the institution’s stakeholders, including faculty members.