Guidelines are recommendations. They help support standards or serve as a reference when no applicable standard is in place.
Information Security Acceptable Use Guidelines
Acceptable Use Guidelines are intended to support McNeese State University’s established culture of openness, trust and integrity. McNeese State University is committed to protecting the University community from damaging actions by individuals, either knowingly or unknowingly, or environmental disruption.
Network-related systems, including but not limited to computer equipment, software, operating systems, storage media, network accounts, electronic mail and web services, are the property of McNeese State University. These systems are to be used for business and academic purposes in serving the interests of the University community. Please review McNeese Policies for further details.
Effective security is a community effort involving the participation and support of every McNeese State University community member who deals with information and/or information systems. Every computer user should understand these guidelines, and conduct their activities accordingly.
The purpose of these guidelines is to outline the acceptable use of Information Resources at McNeese State University. These recommendations exist to protect individuals, the community and McNeese State University. Inappropriate use exposes McNeese State University to threats that can have serious adverse effects on the University's mission to successfully educate students and serve the employers and communities in southwest Louisiana.
These guidelines apply to all individuals that have, or may require, access to Information Resources at McNeese State University, and those with responsibility for maintaining its Information Resources.
General Use and Ownership
- While McNeese State University's network administration desires to provide a reasonable level of privacy, users should be aware that the data they create on the University’s systems remains the property of McNeese State University. Because of the need to protect McNeese State University's network, the confidentiality of information stored on any network device belonging to McNeese State University can not be guaranteed.
- Individuals are responsible for exercising good judgment regarding the reasonableness of personal use of University resources. Individual departments are responsible for creating guidelines for employees concerning personal use of network systems. If there is any uncertainty, employees should consult their supervisor.
- Any information that may be considered "sensitive" should be encrypted. For guidance on sensitive data, see Sensitive Data Guidelines. For guidance on encrypting email and documents, see Encryption Guidelines.
- For security and maintenance purposes, authorized individuals within McNeese State University may monitor equipment, systems and network traffic at any time.
- McNeese State University reserves the right to audit networks and systems on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with policies, laws and regulations.
Security of Data
- All data should be classified according to its level of sensitivity and criticality. For recommendations, see Data Classification Guidelines (currently being drafted).
- Keep passwords secure and do not share accounts. Authorized users are responsible for the security of their passwords and accounts. Passwords should be changed routinely. For recommendations, see University Passwords Guidelines.
- All PCs, laptops and workstations should employ screen saver passwords and automatic session time-outs that are set to activate after a predetermined period of activity.
- Use encryption that conforms with Encryption Guidelines.
- Because information contained on portable computing devices is especially vulnerable, special care should be exercised. For guidance on portable devices, see Portable Devices Guidelines (currently being drafted).
- Postings by employees from a McNeese State University email address to third parties should contain a disclaimer stating that the opinions expressed are strictly their own and not necessarily those of McNeese State University, unless posting is in the course of University duties.
- All hosts that are connected to the McNeese State University network should run University standard, supported anti-virus software if owned by McNeese State University, or best-in-class antivirus software with a current virus database if owned by the individual. For recommendations, see Anti-Virus Guidelines.
- Individuals should use extreme caution when opening e-mail attachments received from unknown senders, which may contain viruses or malware.
The following activities are, in general, unacceptable. In specific cases, employees may be perform these activities during the course of their legitimate job responsibilities (e.g., systems administration staff may have a need to disable the network access of a host if that host is disrupting production services).
The lists below are by no means exhaustive, but attempt to provide a framework for activities which fall into the category of unacceptable use.
System and Network Activities
The following activities are unacceptable:
- Violations of the rights of any person or company protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation or distribution of "pirated" or other software products that are not appropriately licensed for use by McNeese State University.
- Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material including, but not limited to, digitization and distribution of photographs from magazines, books or other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music, and the installation of any copyrighted software for which McNeese State University or the end user does not have an active license.
- Exporting software, technical information, encryption software or technology, in violation of international or regional export control laws. Employees should consult their supervisor prior to export of any material that is in question.
- Introducing malicious code into the University's network infrastructure or other Information Resources (e.g. viruses).
- Revealing account passwords to others or allowing use of accounts by other persons than the account owner.
- Using a McNeese State University computer to actively engage in procuring or transmitting material that may be obscene, harassing or contribute to a hostile work environment.
- Effecting security breaches or disruptions of network communication. Security breaches include, but are not limited to, accessing data of which the individual is not an intended recipient or accessing a server or account that the individual is not expressly authorized to access, unless within the scope of an employee's normal duties. For purposes of this section, "disruption" includes, but is not limited to, denial of service attacks, network sniffing, packet spoofing, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.
- Port scanning or security scanning, unless within the scope of an employee's normal duties.
- Executing any form of network monitoring which will intercept data not intended for the individual's host, unless this activity is a part of an employee's normal duties.
- Circumventing user authentication or security of any host, network or account.
- Using any means to interfere with, or disable, a user's legitimate access to Information Resources.
- Providing non-public information about, or lists of, McNeese State University community members to others without their approval, unless within the scope of an employee's normal duties.
Email and Communications Activities
- Sending unsolicited email messages, including the sending of advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material or sending the same or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of recipients (spam).
- Any form of harassment via email, telephone or text message, whether through language, frequency, or size of messages.
- Unauthorized use, or forging, of identity information.