IT Security UX Study

 In the winter of 2015, the UX team conducted research on behalf of the university's Computing and Communicating Services (CCS) to develop an understanding of IT security knowledge among staff, students and faculty. 

Research Questions

  • What do U of G staff, students and faculty know about IT security?
  • What common practices are used to maintain IT security?

Methods

  • Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 individuals affiliated with the University of Guelph.
  • Participants were comprised of faculty, staff and students.

What did we Learn?

  • Participants use a variety of devices and regularly mix platforms (often simultaneously).
  • Participants assume the university is actively managing IT security for the campus and trust these measures are enough.
  • Participants are concerned about the safety of their Gryph mail account but, other than regularly changing their password, they are unsure of strategies to protect themselves.
  • Participants rely on the following techniques to stay safe: recognition, reliability and legitimacy of website/software/email address; alternative work-arounds to access information in a link or download; information from social connections about a website/software/email address; consultation from CCS employee or departmental website.
  • Students use cloud storage primarily for school work. Some staff and faculty use cloud storage for personal files.

Our Recommendations

  • Because of the different levels of awareness and IT practices across campus, communication about IT security should differ depending on the target audience.
Year of Study: 
2015