Florida Southern requires students to install an anti-virus program on their devices to be able to access the campus Wi-Fi this year.
The reason for this change is to protect against possible invasions. Before, FSC’s network was much more open and accessible to the general public. Now, users must have a valid username and password to connect to the Wi-Fi.
“The major improvement that Safe-Connect brings is security improvements since you have to have a valid User Name and Password to get on, as opposed to last year where anyone could get on,” said Rinker Technology Center lab monitor, Landon Beck. “This prevents anyone malicious from being able to get on and steal information or do something nefarious.”
Unfortunately, campus security hacks are a very common occurrence.
“It’s not a matter of if it will happen, but when,” said John Thomas, chief information officer at FSC. “We’ve been fortunate not to have any security breaches, but we need to stay on top of it.”
Some students have expressed concerns that this program will intrude on their privacy.
“Privacy is something we kept in mind when implementing this new program and therefore does not in any way send information or view any personal information,” Beck said. “It only checks that you have installed the Policy Key and that you have a Running Anti-Virus.”
Students having trouble downloading this program are encouraged to seek help at Rinker or contact a lab technician directly.
“Sometimes it can be very device specific,” Thomas said. “It takes special cases to get older devices to connect. We can help, you just have to let us know that.”
The main concern for students, however, doesn’t seem to be about security but more about the speed and efficiency of the Wi-Fi itself.
This new anti-virus program doesn’t directly impact the Wi-Fi, but it does help lessen the risks of computers becoming infected, which can lead to serious Wi-Fi issues.
“What the program does is it enforces that you have antivirus software and so, therefore, there are less infected computers on campus,” Thomas said. “A lot of times infected computers will eat up bandwidth, which leads to poor Wi-Fi.”
FSC hopes to gradually improve the Wi-Fi in the years to come. They hope to start as soon as this fall. The ways to improve it will include increasing bandwidth, upgrading some of the equipment in the residence halls and adding in additional access points.
“Our bandwidth is one of the largest in Florida, especially for private schools,” Thomas said. “It’s not that we haven’t tried to keep pace with that. Another challenge is that being on a campus network with thousands of users is a lot different than being on a home network.”
Due to these challenges, it is not surprising that FSC students may experience a little lag here and there.