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Information Security Acceptable Use Guidelines

Information Security Acceptable Use Guidelines

Information Security Acceptable Use Guidelines

  1. Overview

    Information Security’s intentions for publishing Acceptable Use Guidelines are not to impose restrictions that are contrary to McNeese State University’s established culture of openness, trust and integrity. Information Security is committed to protecting McNeese State University's employees, partners and the university from illegal or damaging actions by individuals, either knowingly or unknowingly.


    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. Please review Human Resources policies for further details.


    Effective security is a community effort involving the participation and support of every McNeese State University employee and affiliate who deals with information and/or information systems. It is the responsibility of every computer user to know these guidelines, and to conduct their activities accordingly.

  2. Purpose

    The purpose of these guidelines are to outline the acceptable use of computer equipment at McNeese State University. These rules are in place to protect the employee and McNeese State University. Inappropriate use exposes McNeese State University to risks including virus attacks, compromise of network systems and services, and legal issues.

  3. Scope

    These guidelines apply to employees, contractors, consultants, temporaries, and other workers at McNeese State University, including all personnel affiliated with third parties. These guidelines apply to all equipment that is owned or leased by McNeese State University.

  4. Guidelines

    1. General Use and Ownership
      1. 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, management cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information stored on any network device belonging to McNeese State University.
      2. Employees are responsible for exercising good judgment regarding the reasonableness of personal use. Individual departments are responsible for creating guidelines concerning personal use of network systems. In the absence of such guidelines, employees should be guided by departmental policies on personal use, and if there is any uncertainty, employees should consult their supervisor or manager.
      3. Information Security recommends that any information that users consider sensitive or vulnerable be encrypted. For guidelines on information classification, see Information Security's Information Sensitivity Guidelines. For guidelines on encrypting email and documents, go to Information Security's Awareness Initiative.
      4. For security and network maintenance purposes, authorized individuals within McNeese State University may monitor equipment, systems and network traffic at any time, per Information Security's Audit Policy.
      5. McNeese State University reserves the right to audit networks and systems on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with this policy.
    2. Security and Proprietary Information
      1. The user interface for information contained on network-related systems should be classified as either confidential or not confidential, as defined by the confidentiality guidelines, details of which can be found in Human Resources policies. Examples of confidential information include but are not limited to: student records, employee records and research data. Employees should take all necessary steps to prevent unauthorized access to this information.
      2. Keep passwords secure and do not share accounts. Authorized users are responsible for the security of their passwords and accounts. System level passwords should be changed quarterly, user level passwords should be changed every six months.
      3. All PCs, laptops and workstations should be secured with a password-protected screensaver with the automatic activation feature set at 10 minutes or less, or by logging-off when the host will be unattended.
      4. Use encryption of information in compliance with Information Security's Acceptable Encryption Use Guidelines.
      5. Because information contained on portable computers is especially vulnerable, special care should be exercised. Protect laptops in accordance with the “Mobile Device Security Tips”.
      6. 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 business duties.
      7. All hosts used by the employee that are connected to the McNeese State University network, whether owned by the employee or McNeese State University, shall be continually executing approved virus-scanning software with a current virus database unless overridden by departmental or group policy.
      8. Employees should use extreme caution when opening e-mail attachments received from unknown senders, which may contain viruses or malware.
    3. Unacceptable Use

      The following activities are, in general, prohibited. Employees may be exempted from these restrictions 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).


      Under no circumstances is an employee of McNeese State University authorized to engage in any activity that is illegal under local, state, federal or international law while utilizing McNeese State University-owned resources.


      The lists below are by no means exhaustive, but attempt to provide a framework for activities which fall into the category of unacceptable use.

      1. System and Network Activities
        The following activities are strictly prohibited, with no exceptions:
        1. 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.
        2. 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 is strictly prohibited.
        3. Exporting software, technical information, encryption software or technology, in violation of international or regional export control laws, is illegal. The appropriate management should be consulted prior to export of any material that is in question.
        4. Introduction of malicious programs into the network or server (e.g., viruses).
        5. Revealing your account password to others or allowing use of your account by others. This includes family and other household members when work is being done at home.
        6. Using a McNeese State University computing asset to actively engage in procuring or transmitting material that is in violation of sexual harassment or hostile workplace laws in the user's local jurisdiction.
        7. Making fraudulent offers of products, items, or services originating from any McNeese State University account.
        8. Making statements about warranty, expressly or implied, unless it is a part of normal job duties.
        9. Effecting security breaches or disruptions of network communication. Security breaches include, but are not limited to, accessing data of which the employee is not an intended recipient or logging into a server or account that the employee is not expressly authorized to access, unless these duties are within the scope of regular duties. For purposes of this section, "disruption" includes, but is not limited to, network sniffing, ping floods, packet spoofing, denial of service, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.
        10. Port scanning or security scanning is expressly prohibited unless prior notification to Information Security is made.
        11. Executing any form of network monitoring which will intercept data not intended for the employee's host, unless this activity is a part of the employee's normal job/duty.
        12. Circumventing user authentication or security of any host, network or account.
        13. Interfering with or denying service to any user other than the employee's host (for example, denial of service attack).
        14. Using any program/script/command, or sending messages of any kind, with the intent to interfere with, or disable, a user's terminal session, via any means, locally or via the network.
        15. Providing information about, or lists of, McNeese State University employees to parties outside McNeese State University.
      2. Email and Communications Activities
        1. Sending unsolicited email messages, including the sending of "junk mail" or other advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material (spam).
        2. Any form of harassment via email, telephone or text message, whether through language, frequency, or size of messages.
        3. Unauthorized use, or forging, of email header information.
        4. Solicitation of email for any other email address, other than that of the poster's account, with the intent to harass or to collect replies.
        5. Creating or forwarding "chain letters", "Ponzi" or other "pyramid" schemes of any type.
        6. Use of unsolicited email originating from within McNeese State University's networks of other network service providers on behalf of, or to advertise, any service hosted by McNeese State University or connected via McNeese State University's network.
        7. Sending the same or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of recipients (spam).
  5. Definitions

    Spam
    Unauthorized and/or unsolicited electronic mass mailings.
  6. Revision History

    Fri Dec 13 2013