Information Technology Services

ITS Policy on College-Owned Computer Technology

Revision: October 2018

Commitment and rationale

Union College is committed to providing each faculty member, staff member and administrator with the necessary computer to do his or her job. For faculty, staff and administrators, the College will provide one standard configuration, networked, college-owned computer. These purchases will include 3-year warranties, technical staff time for setup and support, and basic software licenses. In order to best meet the needs of the Union College community, standards for hardware and software have been set. Each year these standards are reviewed and revised to reflect industry and higher education trends. This is done to insure that hardware and software that is supported is up-to-date, cost effective and fit to the task.

Desktop or Laptop Computer

Faculty, staff or administrators may elect to have either a desktop computer or a laptop computer as defined by the Union College Desktop and Laptop Policy. Each year Information Technology Services (ITS) will select standard models for purchase. ITS has funding to provide for the replacement of faculty, staff or administrator computers and it is the goal to replace computers on a regular basis, usually on a timetable from 3-5 years depending on need and availability of funding.


ITS maintains an inventory of all college-owned computers. It is this list that will be used to generate a list of computers for replacement. Working with departments and individual faculty, staff or administrators, a replacement schedule is drafted and in general, those with the oldest computers are moved to the top of the list. Each year replacements are scheduled for those deemed to be most in need.


The current standard supported models are located at
https://www.union.edu/information-technology-services/its-organization/user-services/supported-hardware.

Policy

College-owned computers assigned to faculty, staff and administrators will be purchased from approved vendors and configured with a standard set of software licensed by the College. The standard software is listed at https://www.union.edu/information-technology-services/supported-software.


ITS will configure college-owned computers and will be responsible for ongoing maintenance and support. Beginning with the standard configurations, departments may select (at their expense) upgrades to the standard configuration.
College-owned computers are to be used primarily for college-related work and should not be used regularly by other people (e.g. family members). Software not related to your work should not be installed on your college-owned computer and if it is installed, it will not be supported.


To ensure virus protection and other security patches are current, college-owned computers will be configured to automatically update Windows critical patches and virus protection software. In addition any computers that connect to the College's network must have up-to-date virus protection.

Support

ITS staff are trained to troubleshoot hardware problems on the standard computer configurations. Standard 'disk images' are maintained for a limited number of configurations. All college-owned computers are managed through the Dell KACE utility, which has the ability to remotely push out patches and software applications, subject to the procedures outlined at https://www.union.edu/information-technology-services/systems-management-utility-union-college-computers. The supported vendors for personal computers are located at http://its.union.edu/supported-hardware-and-software/supported-hardware. ITS will provide limited support for a few Linux distributions (https://union.teamdynamix.com/TDClient/KB/ArticleDet?ID=59560), as defined on their website.


All college-owned computers are set up with an ITS Admin account which is used to effectively troubleshoot issues with college-owned machines. This account is managed internally by ITS and follows IT security best practices. Only ITS professional staff have access to this account. This account is not to be deleted – if it has been deleted, then resolution of any issues on your college-owned machine will be delayed and/or prolonged due to the need to have you present to allow access to the machine for an ITS professional staff. ITS professional staff will not physically enter any faculty/staff/administrator office without prior notification.


If a college-owned computer is compromised by a virus/malware, the faculty, staff or administrator may be required to view an IT Security Awareness Training Video prior to receiving the computer back.


ITS does not troubleshoot problems on privately owned computers although general support will be given, especially if the computer has been purchased from one of our standard vendors.


ITS will provide support (including troubleshooting, configuring, etc.) for the standard software that is loaded on a college-owned computer. ITS will make a "best-effort" to assist with support that is related to a faculty, staff or administrator’s work. In most cases the best support for special purpose or special use software will be provided by the vendor of the software.

Security and Privacy

Union College employs various measures to protect the security of its computing resources and of their users' accounts. Users should be aware, however, that the College cannot guarantee such security. Users should therefore engage in "safe computing" practices by establishing appropriate access restrictions for their accounts, guarding their passwords, and changing them regularly.

Users should also be aware that their uses of the College’s IT Resources are not completely private. While the College does not routinely monitor individual usage of its computing resources, the normal operation and maintenance of the College's computing resources require the backup and caching of data and communications, the logging of activity, the monitoring of general usage patterns, the scanning of systems and network ports for anomalies and vulnerabilities, and other such activities that are necessary for the rendition of service. The College may also specifically monitor the activity and accounts of individual users of College computing resources, including individual login sessions and communications, without notice, when (a) the user has given permission or has voluntarily made them accessible to the public, for example by posting to a publicly-accessible web page or providing publicly-accessible network services; (b) it reasonably appears necessary to do so to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of the College or other computing resources or to protect the College from liability; (c) an account appears to be engaged in unusual or unusually excessive activity, as indicated by the monitoring of general activity and usage patterns; or (d) it is otherwise required or permitted by law. The College may also monitor the activity and accounts of individual users, upon notice to the individual user, if there is reasonable cause to believe that the user has violated, or is violating this or any other College policy. Any individual monitoring, other than that specified in "(a)", required by law, or necessary to respond to perceived emergency situations, must be authorized in advance by the Chief Information Officer or the Chief Information Officer's designees. It is common practice by the Chief Information Officer to relinquish decision-making responsibility regarding monitoring emails to the appropriate Vice President and/or the President. Use of the College’s IT Resources constitutes consent by the user to all of the terms and conditions of this policy, as well as consent to the College’s accessing, intercepting, and monitoring of employee use of the College’s IT Resources in accordance with this policy.

Union College, in its discretion, may disclose the results of any such general or individual monitoring, including the contents and records of individual communications, to appropriate College personnel or law enforcement agencies and may use those results in appropriate College disciplinary proceedings.

Summary

Information Technology Services is responsible for making sure that Union's computing facilities and network is available on a 24-hour, 7-day a week basis. ITS is also responsible for making sure that Union's faculty members, students, staff and administrators have the computing resources necessary to do their work in a productive and efficient manner.

The above policies have been established to insure that these goals are met in as efficient, effective and cost-effective manner as possible.