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PDN computing policy

Note: This document describes the administrative structure for computing within the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience and lists departmental policies, which are in addition to those laid out in the University Computing Service Rules and Guidelines


IT Team Responsibilities

The IT Team of the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (PDN) has the overall responsibility for the coordination of the departmental computing facilities, and for maintaining the security of the data networks within the Department. The remit of the IT Team includes development of security policies, provision and management of the departmental network and of central network services including the web server, file and print servers and backup servers. The PDN IT Team is also responsible for the management of teaching systems and providing support for administrative and research computing within the Department; and for management of computing systems within research groups where this has been formally agreed.

Administrator Responsibilities

Teaching and administration computers are likely to be administered by Computer Officers (COs), although being a CO is not a prerequisite for being registered as an administrator of a machine. COs here are defined to be personnel employed specifically to administer computing facilities. They do not explicitly have to be employed in CO posts.

  • An administrator for a machine must ensure that the machine is secure and used only according to the rules and regulations governing its use.
  • An administrator must maintain awareness of all current security issues concerning the platforms they administer. It is vital that critical security patches and updates are applied as promptly as possible.
  • Administrators within research groups should always act in cooperation with COs.
  • An administrator should be available for discussion of the management of the machine at short notice. An administrator must have, and regularly check, an @cam or email address.
  • Network monitoring must only be performed by COs who may perform monitoring on areas of the network that are directly affected by their systems. If this step is taken, it is the responsibility of the CO to ensure that the information gained is maintained securely and is not available for general access. COs must be aware of their responsibilities under data protection legislation: any structured record of personal data must be registered with the departmental Data Protection Officer.

User Responsibilities

All users of computing equipment within the Department should be aware of and follow the rules and regulations appropriate to the devices they are using. At the current time this means that all users should have read, and agreed to abide by, the rules and regulations governing the use of JANET, the CUDN and the rules of the University Information Strategy and Services Syndicate. Users are also responsible for ensuring that their own use of the computing facilities within the Department is legal; the most relevant areas of concern being copyright law and the Data Protection Act.

Course organisers should ensure that undergraduates using computing equipment within the Department are aware of these departmental Rules and Policies.

It is important that all computer users are aware that their use of the departmental ethernet network is monitored. Breaching the rules and guidelines made by the University Information Strategy and Services Syndicate can result in disciplinary procedures, and could result in the University being cut off from various Internet resources. This would be embarrassing for the University, the Department and particularly the user.


Any device that is capable of sending or receiving packets via the PDN network is covered by these rules. This includes printers, networking devices, machines attached via a router (e.g. LocalTalk Macs), portable computers and experimental equipment.

  • It is not permissible to connect any device to the network without clearance from the IT Team.
  • If there is any reason to believe that a device connected to the network is behaving in either an insecure or disruptive manner, it may be disconnected from the network without notice. Use of this right will be kept to a minimum by the COs; usually the problem will be discussed with the device's administrator first. Reconnection will only be permitted by the explicit agreement of COs.
  • For those groups with private networks, it is permissible to install passive network blocks (firewalls).
  • All network-connected computers must support the ICMP Echo (ping) function.
  • Users wishing to run network services (DHCP, VPN, LDAP, DNS.FTP, Web servers, Wireless, etc.) must seek approval prior to the service being set up.
  • The use of peer-to-peer file sharing software is not permitted, unless explicitly approved by COs.

Anti-Virus Policy Statement

  • Use of the network is subject to the PDN, UCS and JANET rules.
  • All workstations connecting to the network must have virus protection software and this software should be updated regularly.
  • All administrators of Windows workstations will be encouraged to be covered by the "ePolicy Orchestrator" administered by the PDN IT Team.
  • The PDN IT Team reserve the right to set the "ePolicy Orchestrator" to update and scan when necessary, e.g. following a virus alert.
  • Users may install anti-virus software for which the University has a site licence on their home machines. However the PDN IT Team accept no liability for loss or damage to any work as a result of a virus scan.
  • Visitors should refer to the PDN visitors' policy. It is the responsibility of the host staff member to ensure that a visitor's machine presents no threat to the network.

Breach of any of policy statements above can result in disconnection.

"ePolicy Orchestrator"

The Department runs a server dedicated to monitoring anti-virus protection on workstations. Workstations are monitored by means of client software installation. It is advisable, though not essential, to have the "ePolicy Orchestrator" client agent installed on servers.

Visitors Policy statement

A "visitor" is defined as anyone in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience who is neither a registered student nor an employee of the University or an embedded organisation.

  • Visitors requiring access to or through the PDN network do so within the framework of the departmental policies and University rules.
  • A visitor's host staff member must ensure that the visitor's computer is registered with the IT Team before any network connection is attempted. The host staff member will be responsible for the visitor's machine(s).
  • The visitor will supply sufficient information about their computer access identification and the hardware they attach to the network in order to allow access tracking.
  • Should a visitor merely require access to his or her own institute's mail server, access to a "public" machine will be provided.

Breach of these guidelines can result in individuals or groups being disconnected from the PDN network.

Related references