2017 Cyber Safety Survey, coming soon, includes shorter version for faculty who manage their own machines

If you manage technology at UC Davis, keep an eye out for the yearly Cyber Safety Survey. It should come your way soon.

The survey takes the pulse of information security at UC Davis, and has two versions this year. The standard edition, with approximately 90 questions, is usually completed by the IT directors of high-level campus units. The shorter version, with about 24 questions, is mostly for faculty who use computers or devices that aren’t managed by IT staff.

The goal is to identify trends and common problems across UC Davis; measure progress in campus cybersecurity; and find the areas with the most risk so that the Information Security Office (ISO) can work with units to reduce that risk.

Faculty helped the ISO refine this year’s survey, which will be administered via the Qualtrics survey tool.

Timing and outcomes

The ISO plans to send the survey to deans, vice chancellors and vice provosts by Sept. 1, and ask them to:

  • Delegate the task of completing it to the appropriate people in their areas.
  • Ensure that the survey is completed and returned to the ISO by Nov. 1.

Instructors who manage their own computers—which means they install and update their own software, among other tasks—will likely receive the survey from their unit’s IT office. If they have questions about the survey, they should talk with their unit’s IT support. 

As in prior years, the Information Security Office will share each unit’s results with that unit, and include the average campus results for comparison. Deans, vice chancellors and vice provosts will each receive one-page summaries for their areas.

Survey results will also be folded into the “partnership program” discussions that Chief Information Security Officer Cheryl Washington has with individual department leaders. In the program, she meets with leaders to understand their units’ security risks, needs, and common issues, and to identify the best ways for the campus to work together to improve information security.

The ISO will also post a summary of results for the general campus, probably during winter term 2018.

Answer candidly

The survey questions range from simple to complex, covering anything from telecommuting options to how many of a unit’s applications process information protected by various laws, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Respond as best you can, Washington said. Candid, nuanced answers will deliver a more accurate overall picture than a simple yes or no.

“No answer is inherently wrong,” the survey instructions emphasize, “as long as it states what you believe to be correct.”

If you have questions or comments, please contact the Information Security Office at cybersecurity@ucdavis.edu.