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Information Technologies Blog

Computer Policies

Posted by kevin.buel on Sunday December 30, 2007

For the purpose of this document, Nyack  College and Alliance Theological Seminary will be referred to as Nyack or Nyack College.
  

 

Nyack College provides faculty, staff and currently enrolled students with access to network and computing resources as an integral part of the education environment.  It is expected that users will use these resources responsibly and consistently with the Nyack mission and objectives. Nyack reserves the right to define and to enforce appropriate regulations to ensure that the use of these resources is consistent with Nyack’s mission. 


As a community that yields to the leadership of Jesus Christ, Nyack expects responsible use of technology by both students and employees.  The following policies help define what is meant by responsible use of computer-related technology and complement the values of Nyack.  Users of Nyack’s accounts are acting as representatives of Nyack and, as such, should act accordingly to uphold Nyack’s character and reputation.

 

Permitted and Appropriate Use

Access to computing facilities is a privilege granted solely to faculty, staff, and registered students.  Users must act responsibly and maintain the integrity of these resources.  The regulations and guidelines stated here refer to all access and usage of Nyack College’s computers, internet, network and e-mail.  Usage must comply with federal, state and local telecommunications and networking laws and regulations.  Usage must be ethical, reflect academic honesty, reflect community standards, respect the rights of other users, respect all pertinent license and contractual agreements, and show restraint in the consumption of shared resources. 

Occasional and reasonable personal use is permitted, provided that it does not interfere with the performance of work duties and responsibilities.  Nyack’s internet services may be used for personal improvement, outside of scheduled work hours, provided that such use is consistent with this policy.

  • An account owner may not lend his/her account(s) to another user.  All accounts are required to be protected from unauthorized access by the use of a password.
  • Each user is responsible and liable for all computing activities involving their account.
  • Usage of computer resources is a privilege and not transferable or extendible by members of the college community to people or groups outside the college without the written approval of the Information Technologies Department.
  • An employee is sometimes given access to confidential or privileged information relating to the institution, students, or other employees.  Employees must respect the confidentiality of all information.  They must neither divulge confidential information without appropriate consent nor seek to obtain access to information to which they are not entitled.

Prohibited Use

Examples of misuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Unauthorized use of a computer or network.
  • Obtaining a password for a computer account without the consent of the account owner.
  • Attempting or accessing any account or data not personally owned, regardless of intent and whether or not the material is protected. The only exceptions are for access specifically authorized or assigned by the owner.
  • Attempting to monitor or tamper with another user’s electronic communications, or reading, copying, changing, or deleting another user’s files or software without the explicit agreement of the owner.
  • Any use of the institution’s computers, internet, or network to gain improper access to or make improper use of computer systems elsewhere.
  • Sharing information or providing other means of access, encouraging or even enabling use of the institution's computers by anyone not a current faculty member, staff member, or student of the institution.
  • Performing an act that interferes with the normal operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or networks.

  • Copying, moving, removing or altering hardware, networks and software owned or under license by the institution except by staff of Information Services.
  • Running or installing on any computer system or network, or giving to another user, a program intended to damage or to place excessive load on a computer system or network.  This includes but is not limited to programs known as computer viruses, Trojan horses, and worms.
  • Forwarding e-mail chain letters or spamming e-mail accounts from Nyack College’s e-mail services or institution machines.
  • Staff and Faculty are prohibited from establishing an “all forward” of their Nyack College business email to external personal email accounts.  Manual forwarding of individual messages is permissible as long as no sensitive or Federal or State law-protected information is included.  Persons doing so will be subject to possible litigation associated with such a breach and termination of their employment. 
  • Attempting to circumvent data protection or uncover security loopholes.
  • Violating terms of applicable software licensing agreements or copyright laws.
  • Deliberately wasting computer resources and consumables.
  • Masking the identity of an account or machine.
  • Posting materials on electronic bulletin boards that violate existing laws or the institution’s standard of conduct.
  • Using the institution’s computers, internet, or network for unlawful activities, commercial purposes not under the auspices of the institution, personal financial gain, gambling, political solicitation or personal use inconsistent with this policy.
  • Using the computers, internet, or network to plagiarize or cheat on an exam, paper or other assignment.

Activities are not considered misuse when authorized by appropriate institution officials for security, performance testing or to promote the general welfare of the college community.

 

Respect for Community

Users are required to behave in their use of the technology in a manner consistent with mature Christian behavior and the institution’s Standards for Community Life as well as federal and state law. 

  • The creation and sending of e-mail or other messages that harass, slur, embarrass, demean or is otherwise harmful is unacceptable.
  • Standards embraced by this Christian community are well known.  Usage of the institution’s computers, internet, or network for viewing, accessing, downloading, saving, receiving, or transmitting racist, pornographic, harassing, threatening, violent, or otherwise offensive material is unacceptable.  This applies to any screen display, printing, or the transmission of images, sounds or messages.  Any user, student or employee, caught accessing such material will be appropriately disciplined.
  • Promoting discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or disability is unacceptable.

Confidentiality and Privacy

The institution gives best effort to keep its systems and data secure. Users should have no expectation of privacy while using institution-owned or institution-leased equipment.  Information passing through or stored on institution equipment can and will be monitored.    Sending sensitive information by email over the internet is illegal.  Nyack College maintains the right to monitor and review internet use and e-mail communications sent or received by users as necessary (i.e., for troubleshooting, retrieving business-related information, legal requests, etc.).

 

Confidential information relative to personnel matters, internal investigations and litigation should not be transmitted.  Extra copies of all data are kept in the routine process of backup. Deletion of on-line files by a user does not mean that no other copy remains.

 

Respect for Ownership and Copyright

All hardware purchased by the institution remains its property. The material contained in those systems is also the property of the institution with the exception of software, which remains the property of third parties while used by the institution under the provisions of licenses and copyrights. 
Keeping, using, copying, sharing or distributing software, images or other tangible or intellectual property which one neither owns nor has a valid license is in violation of copyright and is unacceptable.  No improperly gained material is to reside on institution computers; if discovered it will be removed.  The institution’s policies on plagiarism apply to uses of the computers and network in course assignments.


Respect for Resources

Users must be reasonable with regards to impact on all other users.  If conflicts of resources arise, priority is given to academic and administrative work.

  • Users must show regard for the resource by routinely removing duplicate or unnecessary files, or seeking off-line means of storage.
  • Generating chain letters or sending broadcast messages beyond the institution’s distribution lists is unacceptable.
  • In public areas such as labs, installing software not owned by the institution and leaving personal files on internal disks are unacceptable. Staff removes all such materials from public machines without notice.
  • Users are expected to conserve paper. Users provide their own paper for personal printouts, and the institution reserves the right to charge direct fees for paper use in public labs.
  • Our email host limits our boxes to 25 Gig.  Even with these generous limits, Nyack encourages everyone to manage their email effectively. 

  • The administrators of the institution’s e-mail facility may, within certain limits, block incoming e-mail including unsolicited bulk e-mail or “spam.”

Web Blocking

The institution blocks access to web sites categorized as blatant pornography and hatred.  The assignment or release of web sites from various categories is within the control of the institution.  There is a lack of any technical means to guarantee the total absence of objectionable material from the campus network.  Therefore, all members of the community are encouraged to diligently avoid pornographic material and hate sites.  

 

Policy Violations and Sanctions

Computer usage is not an individual right but rather a privilege and users must conform to the guidelines and standards in this policy.  Users must cooperate with Information Services in its operation as well as in the investigation of misuse or abuse. 

  • Persons who feel they are the target of violations are encouraged to bring their concern to the Information Technologies Department.
  • Persons who discover an unauthorized use of their account should immediately report it to the Information Technologies Department.
  • Persons who observe any loopholes in the security of the systems should report it to the Information Technologies Department.

Use of computer systems is monitored and recorded by authorized staff members to safeguard security and smooth operation.  The institution may respond to violations of this policy as it deems appropriate. Responses include:  investigation and confrontation of violators, suspension of privileges, referral to the judicial process, termination of employment (staff) or expulsion (students), prosecution, and/or civil action.  The institution is not responsible for defending users against litigation arising from conduct or content that violates policy.

 

Violations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Then, Information Technologies may as deemed necessary (and with appropriate approval) disable the account and turn all pertinent information over to the individual’s immediate supervisor (faculty/staff) or Dean of Students (students).  The Dean of Students determines disciplinary actions in matters involving students. Disciplinary actions involving staff members are governed by the procedures set out in the institution’s personnel policies. The Provost determines appropriate actions taken in situations involving faculty members. Individuals who disagree with an administrative decision may submit an appeal to the appropriate office as outlined in the appropriate handbook. 

 

This policy may be updated and modified from time to time.  The latest approved version of this policy will be posted on the Nyack website at www.nyackcollege.edu/it/.

Spam filter/Quarantine box

Posted by kevin.buel on Thursday August 30, 2007

All Nyack College staff, faculty and students who have a college email address have their email processed through an email firewall. The firewall intercepts virus laden attachments and most unsolicited messages and either blocks or quarantines them depending on your personal settings. This is a brief discussion on how to access your email quarantine box.

Your personal quarantine box is generated when your Nyack address receives a message that looks like spam to the anti-spam system. When it does, the system will send a message to you stating that the spam box has been created. The message will provide you a password to access your quarantine box. Only upon receiving that email can you access your quarantine. Use the password supplied by that email to get into your quarantine. Go to https://blockedmail.nyack.edu and login with your email address and the quarentine supplied password. Your normal system login and password do not work on the quarantine box. You may change your quarantine password under PREFERENCES once you have logged into your quarantine successfully with the system provided password. You can also adjust your settings as to how your spam will be processed as well as check the quarantine for desired messages which can be forwarded and white-listed for future unhampered delivery. Below is a picture of the login page.

 
quarantine box
 


Please read carefully the pages that are presented. Following the instructions carefully should provide all the guidance you need to configure your email quarantine.  For online documentation, go to:

http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/downloads/barracuda_usersguide.pdf

Keep your system on the network!

Posted by kevin.buel on Sunday July 1, 2007

 

 

The entire Nyack College network, including the wireless network is monitored by a unit, referred to as a reverse firewall, which will scan the network for computers generating troublesome network traffic. Systems creating  traffic that interferes with the natural flow of communications will be denied access to the network.  This behavior can result from viruses, worms and other malicious code infecting unpatched operating systems.

 

The reverse firewall can make it appear the wireless network is down to an infected user.  Students are advised to check there systems for infections before assuming the entire network is down.   The wireless system monitors itself and reports all failures to our console. We will be instantly aware of any wireless infrastructure failures and address them as time permits.

 

To ensure  optimal wireless access, you must apply operating system,  anti-virus and network device driver updates.  Purchasing and installing a personal firewall is also highly recommended.   Operating system patches can be downloaded from Microsoft's update site:

(http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com).

 

Ignoring these precautions is likely to allow interruption your internet connectivity. In plain terms, students (and support parents) will be required to take an active role in keeping their personal systems patched and virus free. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of these  responsibilities can no longer be borne by professional computer people alone,  everyone must take responsibility.

  

Due to the number and complexity of configurations of personally owned computer systems, the Nyack College Information Technologies Department is not staffed to deal with personally owned computers. There is however a tremendous amount of help available online dealing with common computer problems, accessable throught the computer labs systems as well as library stations.  Students can also purchase third party online help utilizing Geek Squad (http://www.geeksquad.com).  Locally there is a Geeksquad counter in Best Buy at the Palisades Shopping center, minutes from the college.

 

Wireless Access

Posted by kevin.buel on Sunday July 1, 2007

Information Technologies maintains a centrally managed wireless network based on hardware manufactured by Meru Networks.  (www.merunetworks.com)  Students wishing to take advantage of the wireless network should purchase laptops that have built in wireless support for 802.11G or B standards. If adding wireless equipment to your desktop or older laptop, make sure the device supports not only the 802.11 G and B standards but also the operating system your computer is using.  Information Technologies recommends better known brands of cards to ensure you can connect and can get support if you need it. Some of the brands recommended: Linksys(Cisco), Netgear,  Dlink, or HP.  Vendors offering very inexpensive units are not recommended as  these units have not proven to provide uniform connection.
 
Dorms currently offering wireless service include Christie,  Dunbar, Harmony, Bethany, Jaffery, Moseley and Simpson.  Other areas that offer connection are Bailey Library, Boon Center student lounges, the dining commons as well as Boon, Simpson and  Hilltop classrooms. Further coverage will follow as  budget allows.

Conflicting wireless devices found to interfere with the college provided system will be traced and removed without notice.

Currently the wireless system is an open system which allows making connection to it simple.  By using the wireless network, users agree to take responsibility for issues that might arise from their transmissions being monitored by others.


Due to the number and complexity of configurations of personally owned computer systems, the Nyack College Information Technologies Department is not staffed to deal with student owned computer problems. There is a tremendous amount of help available online from  both your wireless device manuacturer and computer retailer at their respective web sites. 

General workstations are available in Boon, Moseley, Simpson and Christie lounges as well as labs and the Library to access that information.   Those students requiring further help can purchase online help 24 hours a day from geeksbyminute.com (http://www.geeksbyminute.com/).  There is also a  "Geeksquad" service counter in Best Buy, located at the Palisades Shopping center, minutes from the college.

 

Need to know

Posted by kevin.buel on Sunday July 1, 2007

  Wireless access:

Wireless access is available in Christie, Harmony, Bethany, Driscol, Dunbar, Jaffery,  Moseley and Simpson dorms.  The Meru network (www.merunetworks.com) supports 802.11G and b cards.  Additional access is available in Bailey Library, Boon center lounges, classrooms, dining commons and the Hilltop classrooms.  

 

Wireless users should obtain and use the latest available drivers for their devices as the client software on your laptop can have a serious impact on the ability of your system to connect to the network and subsequent performace level.   It is recommended that students  purchase G based devices, but avoid "extreame" or "turbo" branded units that support higher speeds which usually works only with the same vendor's access point.  

 

The Information Technologies department suggests that students use a major vendor of wireless gear who can provide you with support, should you need help. Some of the prominent vendors include Dlink, Netgear, Linksys (Cisco), and HP.    Inexpensive wireless devices have been proven unreliable on the college provided network and are not recommended. 

Inverted firewall:

The entire network at Nyack College, including the wireless network, is monitored by an  inverted firewall from Mirage Networks( www.miragenetworks.com). This unit is of concern to computer users who are not patching their operating systems and/or are not running or updating  antivirus software on their machines.  This device monitors the network for dangerous network behavior and will deny network access to offending machines. Those machines will remain off the network until they have been cleaned of the offending process.

 

Students should do a Google search for help removing viruses from their systems. The following site describes the virus problem in general: http://csrc.nist.gov/virus/

 

Students who are unable to clean their systems on their own may require paid professional help. One place students can call is 1-888-274-geek or visit http://www.geeksbyminute.com from one of the lab computers.  There is also a  Geeksquad counter at the Best Buy store at the Palisades mall where you can take your machine for expert help.

Once you have cleaned your system, you should not have a problem connecting to the network. If not successful, please email helpdesk@nyack.edu with your network device MAC address, your phone number, the room and dorm you are in.  Someone will contact you if we find a reason on our end that you cannot connect.

 Web filter:

The college is primarily focused on providing a safe learning environment and promoting high moral standards for its students. To that end, the college operates a web filter. The filter is set to provide maximum educational opportunity. On occasion it has disallowed some social and chat based web sites. The college is not focused on providing access to recreational content on the web, though some sites may be accessable. To date the college has not found a blocked site that required us to adjust the current settings. When a desired site is blocked, you may send a message to the administrator via the address provided on the page stating the site is blocked. This does not assume the request will be granted simply because it was requested.  Denied requests will be answered with why they were denied.  It can take a number of days for most requests to be reviewed and acted upon.

Computer labs:

Nyack College provides 3 general use labs found in Boon Center(30 stations), Moseley Hall and Simpson Hall (20 stations each). There is also a writing center (8 stations) on the upper floor of North Campus in the faculty wing. Finally, there is an education lab of 20 stations at North Campus.  Each lab has printing capability.

Login accounts:

Students are issued a login account once enrolled in a course, usually with one week after registration.  Instructions to determine your Login/Username can be found on the screens of the computer lab machines or be asked of the lab proctor or upper classmen.  

 

If you are having a problems with your account, and the lab proctor can not help you,  leave a message at HELP(4357) or email helpdesk@nyack.edu.  In both cases  leave complete first and last name along with the last 4 digits of your social security number and your home zip code number  for verification purposes.

Web resources page:

The main web link  to find your  Nyack College web resources is   https://my.nyack.edu.   Numerous links will be found there to take you to pages you wish to interact with.  In most all cases, you will be asked for an appropriate  login name and password for each link.  The email and Netstorage links use the Nyack issued login that allows you to also use computers in labs and Libray.  The other links have other logins issued by the owners of the sites, i.e. Registrar, eCollege.

Email address:

  • Students are issued email addresses consisting of their login name placed in front of @Nyack.edu.(loginname@nyack.edu). This is the address school officials will use to convey official information to students.  

     

Spam quarantine:

 

All email is processed by a spam filtering system. A personal quarantine box will be generated for you at the point your account receives an email message that looks like spam.  Upon the creation of your quarantine, the system will send you an email message containing a password to access it.  Use that supplied password to get into your quarantine to change your password if desired.  You can also adjust your spam level settings and also check your quarantine for misdirected messages.   Go to  https://blockedmail.nyack.edu  and login with your entire email address and the supplied password. Your normal system login and password will not work on the quarantine box. You may change your quarantine password under PREFERENCES once you have logged into your quarantine successfully.  If you need to get your password from the system, go to the site above and enter only your email address and click the Create Password button on the bottom of the page.  An email will be forwared to the entered address with the needed information.

 

It is not required that your quarantine be checked or cleaned. You will receive a daily summary of the messages that were quarantined for the last 24 hours via email. If you are expecting something that did not arrive in your box, you can check your quarantine for the message at any time by going to the aforementioned address.   Erroneously quarantened Email addresses can be whitelisted to prevent them from being quarantined in the future. Your quarantine will automatically discard messages that are 30 days old.

 

 

 

Personal file storage:

 

Students are encouraged to store files on a network drive designated as P: (personal) drive. (look for your login name on the list of devices when doing an "Open" in Word)  Students are encouraged to back their files up using  USB storage devices.  CD's can also be burned.  Floppies should be used as last resort. The college does not have the capacity to back up student files.

 

Your P: drive is available from the wireless network and through the Internet at https://myfiles.nyack.edu.   Logon using your system logon name and password and browse to the Home directory link.  This is your p: drive.  While files may be viewed through a browser, files must be downloaded to your local machine before you can edit them. Once editing is finished, the file must be saved on your local machine and then uploaded back to the Netstorage directory.  Direct editing is not possible.

Faculty Posted files:

Also found at https://myfiles.nyack.edu are files that Faculty post for student use.  There are  links for the Rockland Campus, Manhattan Campus and ATS Program.  These are read only files for students, faculty have rights to upload new files and make changes to current ones.  Instructions for using the service are found on the opening page.

 

 

 


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