Today’s world could not function without technology, especially tools like the Internet. Our dependency on the Internet for everyday information as well as for research means that we expect to be able to access it at any time, a luxury that is made possible by Wi-Fi networks and phone data.
Informational Technology Services is responsible for maintaining the functionality of the Wi-Fi network here on campus, as well as assisting students with other computer related issues. IT plays an important role in the lives of Wesleyan students because without them, students would not have a network that allows them to connect to the Internet which would inhibit research, access to websites used by professors and students such as WebAdvisor and Blackboard and other important functions.
Connecting to the Wi-Fi network has proved to be somewhat of a challenge for many students this year, especially since arriving back to campus after Winter break. “Sometimes I’ll be doing work on my laptop and the Wi-Fi just cuts out and I must go and reconnect to it,” freshman Mallory Langford says of her struggles with the network. Given the large size of the Wi-Fi network required for campus, it is no surprise that other students have faced the same issue as Langford.
The issue of inconsistency of devices’ ability to get and stay connected to the Wi-Fi is one that several students have experienced in recent weeks. As mentioned, the Wi-Fi will occasionally cut out while it is in use, resulting in students having to go reconnect, which is more of an annoying inconvenience than anything else.
Other students, however, have had problems with getting their devices connected to the network at all, even though the same devices were able to connect to the network previously. According to information provided by IT Service’s Information Security Officer and Network Administrator, Marcia Williams, this problem is more likely result of updates that have been pushed by the devices that prevent them from being compatible, rather than an issue with the network. The school has not made any recent changes to the network, meaning that the recent problems with connecting a device is possibly due to vendor changes beyond the control of the school.
The lack of change in the campus’ network is the root of the problem in the eyes of some, including sophomore Hunter Majewski. “The Wi-Fi is unreliable and often creates issues with a lot of my devices,” Majewski stated. “It also hasn’t improved from last year at all.” Senior Jenna Serna, however, has seen some improvements in the network during her years at VWU. “I do still have issues with the reliability of the Wi-Fi here, but it has been a lot more reliable recently than it was during my first couple of years here,” Serna, said.
Maintaining the Wi-Fi network is not the only job of IT Services. The department is also responsible for ensuring the security of their network and educating students on ways to protect their devices and accounts.
Earlier this month, IT was made aware that some students and faculty had received a phishing email asking the recipient to click on a link and provide an electronic signature. Phishing emails are emails that appear to be from reputable companies but are only to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. In response, an email from IT was sent on Feb. 12 to the faculty and students of VWU, warning them that such emails were being sent, and informing them on how to identify phishing emails.
Two days later an email was sent to all the faculty, staff and students of VWU revealing that during the month of January, IT services had launched a Phishing Simulation Campaign. The campaign was designed to test the ability to recognize phishing emails and identify areas that needed improvement. The results of the campaign showed that about one-third of those phished were hooked. These results emphasized the need for additional training.
To educate faculty, staff and students about digital security, IT has launched a Cyber Security Awareness Training program. The purpose of this training is to help users to better recognize signs of phishing emails, practice safe browsing habits, and promote good digital hygiene, or the cleanliness or uncleanliness of digital habits. Digital hygiene includes password security, browsing habits and social media presence.
VWU has partnered with InfoSec, a third-party vendor, to provide the training. IT Services strongly encourages everyone to complete the training so that VWU faculty, staff and students may become more informed about how to protect their devices and accounts, and so that the digital environment on campus is a more secure place.