Please refer to the Unit Profile to see how this assessment item relates to the Unit Learning Outcomes.
This assignment is designed to stimulate critical thinking outside of the classroom by requiring students to write a formal academic report. You will need to follow the ARE process described in chapters 2 and 3 of Your Business Degree 2 (prescribed textbook for COIT20249) to analyse the assessment task, research relevant information and evaluate the information you find. This information should be used to write an academic report in which you present your findings or outcomes and make recommendations for future practice Professional writing and writing reports are described in chapters 4 and 5 of Your Business Degree 2. This assessment task will assess your skills in critical thinking, researching information, forming an opinion, academic writing, logical ordering of ideas and your ability to support your arguments with quotes from literature. These objectives will be measured by the ‘closeness of fit’ to meeting the assessment task, assessment requirements and marking criteria
Please note that there is a wealth of material available on the Moodle Unit website that you should use to help you through the process of searching for and gathering relevant information, evaluating that information and writing your report.
General Assessment Criteria
Assessments provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills to achieve the required standard. To do this, assessment responses need to be both clear and easy to understand. If not, the University cannot determine that students have demonstrated their knowledge and skills. Assessments will, therefore, be marked accordingly including the potential for 0 (zero) marks where relevant.
The report must focus on the case study scenario given in the Assessment Task section. Any assessment items that do not address the case study scenario may be awarded 0 (zero) marks.
If you use Track Changes when writing your report you must ensure that the submitted document is the final and correct version of the document. That is, if your submitted report contains Track Changes or Comments or any other editing marks it may be awarded 0 (zero) marks. It is your responsibility to submit the final and correct version of your report.
The length of the report must be within the recommended range. If the report exceeds the maximum word count the marker will stop marking after 2750 words.
Moodle auto-submits draft files that are in Moodle at the originally set deadlines. Files that are auto-submitted will not be reverted to draft status except in extenuating circumstances (evidence required). It is your responsibility not to leave draft assessments in Moodle at the due date and time if the files are not ready to be submitted for marking. However, late submissions may attract penalties.
Students are required to write an academic report as per the format outlined in chapter 5 of the textbook. The report must follow the CQU APA referencing style. See the American Psychological Association (APA) abridged guide updated Term 2 2016 available from: https://www.cqu.edu.au/student-life/services-and-facilities/referencing/cquniversity-referencing-guides. Please note that the prescribed textbook uses APA referencing guidelines. See also the Referencing Style subsection below.
The report is to be based on the following case study scenario about network and information security technologies.
Almost all businesses use the Internet these days to offer various services to their customers. Some of these activities require collecting user/customer information including commercial transactions and exchange personal and/or sensitive information. While the internet is a very convenient option for both businesses and for customers, there are also risks associated in using the internet. Some of these risks are related to the potential for unauthorised access of information of customers; ranging from personal details and financial records to their online login details. Recently, there have been numerous incidents where hackers have accessed user information which have then been used for various purposes. There have been instances of ransomware and other malware attacks, and even publishing confidential client details leading to highly difficult situations for customers of some organisations. As a result, information and network security is becoming more and more important for organisations though improved security means additional costs for small organisations which do not command big budgets.
You have recently completed your postgraduate degree in the information systems/technology field of an Australian University. You are now working as the Research and Technology Assistant to the ICT manager of a small software organisation based in Melbourne. Your organisation was established less than 5 years ago. It develops and customises applications specialising in information and network security area. The clients of your organisation are mostly in the major cities of Australia and range from small to medium size organisations. At present, your organisation undertakes projects to develop applications in-house or to customise off-the shelf software in agreement with larger vendors. Your organisation’s current business scope is limited to that of development of applications. It is now exploring options to expand the business in the next five years to other branches within ICT, and to all parts of Australia and even overseas if possible.
One future option is to diversify the business into providing ongoing information and network security services to businesses that have an online presence. That will require managing the online security of those organisations; security of their websites and client databases. However, the Business Development Manager of your organisation has revealed that the potential client organisations for this new line of business could include online gambling organisations as well as small pharmaceutical and hospitality industry organisations.
There are some concerns among your executive management team that not all the potential client organisations may be engaging in socially acceptable ethical businesses. Yet, there is another school of thought within the management that your organisation must be more concerned about the bottom line (economic aspects) rather than the triple-bottom line aspects (social, environment and economic) aspects at this point in your organisation’s business life cycle.
Your ICT Manager has been asked by the CEO of your organisation to investigate the possibility of this expansion. He (your ICT Manager) has requested you to undertake preliminary research and draft a report that he can finalise and submit to the next Executive Management meeting.
Your research and the subsequent report should cover the following tasks:
- Definition/s of information and network security and the most up to date developments in the field. This investigation must consider different types of applications used in various industries and in different parts of the world. As a minimum, assess three information/network security applications currently in the market and their uses. Your report should not just focus on generic technology descriptions only but must identify actual examples of both information and/or network security solutions. Consider any success/failure factors. Research must focus on both Australian and global aspects in different industries.
- Based on the findings from the previous section, propose how you can use these applications to expand your organisation in the next five years. Discuss whether the organisation should focus on customising off-the-shelf applications as you have found, or develop products in-house to provide the ongoing security maintenance services to client organisations.
As a part of this analysis, consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of your solutions and the various risks with respect to the solution/s you propose. The Report must focus on security and technology aspects as a priority, and propose potential solutions to overcome any disadvantages/risks identified in your analysis. Additionally, explore the ethical, social and legal considerations that your organisation should consider as a part of the proposed strategy where some of the clients may not engaged in strictly ethical businesses. Discuss some proposals to address these concerns and make relevant recommendations.
Your analysis and proposed solutions in task 2 should provide three to five recommendations at the end of your report. Make sure that the specific recommendations at the end of your report have been evaluated as a part of your report discussion.
The report should be at a strategic level and must not consist of highly technical details as most of your readers are not from an information technology background.
Please note that you will need to make some assumptions about the organisation in order to write this report. These assumptions should match the information in the case study and not contradict with the objectives of the report. They should be incorporated in the introduction of your report when you describe the organisation and outline the problem to be solved. Relevant assumptions should be incorporated when addressing task 2 above. To avoid loss of marks, do not make assumptions that are not relevant or will not be used in your report discussion.
Specifically your report should include the following (word count details are approximate guidelines only):
- Title page: Unit code and name, assessment number, Report title, assessment due date, word count (actual), student name, student number, email address, campus lecturer/tutor, and Unit Coordinator. If applicable, add extension request ID and the new due date. Must be formatted to a standard required for a professional/business report. Check week 6 materials for example of a professionally formatted title page. Not included in the word count.
- Executive summary: should include the purpose of the report, the problem including key issues considered and how they were investigated, your findings, and overview of your recommendations. This part must not be longer than one (1) A4 page. Not included in the word count.
- Table of Contents (ToC): should list the report topics using decimal notation. Needs to include the main headings and subheadings with corresponding page numbers, using a format that makes the hierarchy of topics clear. Because you are including a ToC the report pages should be numbered in the footer as follows: title page has no page number; and main text to have Arabic numerals commencing at 1. Create the ToC using MS Word’s ToC auto-generator rather than manually typing out the ToC. Instructions can be found here https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Create-a-table-of-contents-or-update-a-table-of-contents-eb275189-b93e-4559-8dd9-c279457bfd72#__create_a_table. Not included in the word count.
- Introduction: provide a brief description of the organisation as given in the case scenario including any assumptions, a concise overview of the problem you have been asked to research, the main aims/purpose of the report, the objectives to be achieved by writing the report (include the tasks outlined in the case study) and how you investigated the problem. Provide an outline of the sections of the report. Should be approximately 300 words.
- Body of the report (use appropriate headings in the body of the report.): Define key terms you will use in your report, such as what is meant by ‘information/network security’. Present your ideas on the topic and discuss the information you found in your research that was relevant to the report’s objectives. Provide an analysis of the information that you gathered. Ensure that you explore the tasks listed in the case study scenario. In your discussion, examine the issues from a global perspective as well as from the local perspective (of the fictional organisation that is the centre of this report).
Do NOT use generic words such as ‘Body, Body of the Report, Tasks’ as section headings. Create meaningful headings and subheadings that reflect the topic and content of your report. Should be approximately 1700 words.
- Conclusion: restate the purpose of the report and key issues investigated and the related findings based on your research and analysis. Explain the significance of your findings for addressing the problem stated in the case scenario and any limitations. State how your report has achieved its objectives and any future work to be considered. Should be approximately 300 words.
- Recommendations: 3 to 5 recommendations required (must be based on your findings and proposed solutions discussed in the body of the report) what would your recommendations be to your CEO and the executive management team in this situation? Provide some guidelines for the organisation with respect to the future directions for your organisation based on your discussions. Format according to the Report Writing Guidelines discussed in the Unit. Should be approximately 200 words.
- Reference list. Not included in the word count.
- Appendices if necessary. Not included in the word count.
Note: Additional information regarding this assignment may be placed on the Moodle Unit website as required. Check the Moodle Unit website at least once a week for further information relating to the report. Regular access to the Moodle Unit website is a requirement of this Unit.
Other Assessment Requirements
Your response should be structured as a report (chapter 5 of textbook), written in accordance with standard academic writing principles (chapter 4 of textbook). The report must be written using your own words with any in text citations clearly marked (see Referencing Style subsection below). You may discuss the assessment task with other students and the lecturing staff but you must WRITE the report YOURSELF in your own words.
You will need to conduct research to support your arguments using at least ten (10) references. Note that all the references you chose to use should have been evaluated using the Triple-R framework in the research stage of preparing your Report. One of the references could be your set textbook (if you reference the textbook you must include it in the reference list). You must have a minimum of ten (10) references in your reference list. At least six (6) of these references should be from refereed academic journals and books. All sources should be current that is, dated 2012 or later. Minimum requirements relate to a Pass mark. You are encouraged to use more than the minimum requirements for a better quality outcome to your report through improving the quality of your analysis.
The assignment should demonstrate a logical flow of discussion, and be free from typographical, spelling and grammatical errors. It should be prepared in MS-Word (or equivalent) using 12 point font, 1.5 line spacing and margins of 2.54 cm.
It is highly recommended that you submit your assignment to the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) AT LEAST ONE WEEK before the due date. The ALC can check your report for correct structure, referencing, paragraphing and some language issues.