CEFNS IT Policies

The College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences Information Technology (CEFNS IT) is a distinct entity from Northern Arizona University’s central Information Technology Services (ITS), however we do tie into the NAU network and other ITS services. In addition to the policies described below, CEFNS IT computers and technology are subject to all NAU and central ITS policies. CEFNS IT may make exceptions to NAU and CEFNS policies based on the needs of the College and the Departments, however all exceptions are made on a case by case basis, do not apply to new purchases, and may be revoked at any time.

CEFNS IT aims to be as open as possible with our policies and practices. We understand that the limitations of large policies and strict enforcement are detrimental to the advancement of research and development. However maintaining technology services for the largest and most technologically-oriented college in the University is no small feat; our policies exist to provide standards which students, faculty, staff, guests, and IT staff may take advantage of when working with the College’s technology services. Disruption of these standards diminishes the quality of services and significantly increases the time required support technology within the College.

CEFNS IT provides support to CEFNS students, faculty, staff, and guest for most of ITS services but may refer some matters to their technical support teams. We do not provide support for the following, if you are experiencing difficulties with these topics please contact the ITS Solution Center or the Student Technology Center (STC) directly: 

  1. User accounts and passwords are maintained by central ITS. If you have lost or forgotten your password or have other questions about your account contact the ITS Solution Center for faculty and staff or the STC for students. 
  2. Email is maintained by central ITS. Faculty and Staff email (Exchange) is supported by the ITS Solution Center and student email (NAU GMail) supported by the STC.
  3. Home directories on Bonsai for faculty and staff are maintained by central ITS and supported by the ITS Solution Center. Home directories on Dana for students are maintained by central ITS and supported by the STC.
  4. Printers requiring technical service or repair are handled by central ITS. They will only service HP or Dell laser printers and must have a NAU Property Control Number (PCN).
  5. PDAs, smart-phones, and tablets are supported by central ITS. Before purchasing a mobile device we recommend visiting the ITS Mobile Device Support Policy page to see which devices are supported.

Below are CEFNS IT specific policies. These policies apply across all CEFNS buildings and locations, except where specifically noted.

Operations

Support Staff

CEFNS IT employs four full-time IT professionals, one part-time IT professional, and at least one student Help Desk worker. The IT staff offers a wide range of skills in specific areas, but all can offer general support for most NAU and CEFNS IT supported services.

CEFNS IT has offices in Engineering, Math, and Physical Sciences as well as a Help Desk in Engineering. Staff in Engineering maintains hours from 8 AM to 5 PM on weekdays and may additionally be available for up to an hour on either side of those times. Staff in Math or Physical Sciences maintain hours in one or both locations from 8 AM to 5 PM on weekdays. The Help Desk hours are dependent on the student worker's availability and are posted here. Staff may not always be available for personal consultation or assistance but may be reached via phone or email.

CEFNS IT staff may be available or present at other times, but does not consistently maintain other hours. Support may be limited or unavailable for evening, weekends, and NAU holidays. If you are running an event or research during these times that may require technical support please contact us with at least two weeks notice to schedule assistance.

Technology Services

CEFNS IT provides full support for services described in the Services section of the site, except where otherwise limited.

Exceptions and Exclusions

CEFNS IT will often make exceptions to policies defined herein to accommodate the needs of the College or the Departments. These policies are used primarily to define a baseline of assumptions for our users and staff to provide optimal services and support.

Granting exceptions may result in limited support as the assumptions defined by these policies may no longer be true. All persons should be aware when seeking support for items that do not adhere to these policies that assistance may be delayed or declined. 

Exceptions are made on a case by case basis, do not apply to new or transferred items, and may be revoked at any time.

Services and Technical Support

Windows

CEFNS IT aims to provide full support for the most popular and most available versions of Microsoft Windows. This currently includes Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.

CEFNS IT maintains updated disk-images for Windows 8.1, older images have been deprecated. The disk-images contain all base software required to access NAU and CEFNS services that are free or licensed via campus agreements including: 

  • Web Browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer)
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Adobe Reader

Windows XP and older Windows operating systems are no longer supported by ITS or CEFNS IT.

CEFNS IT will maintain exclusive Administrator access, but may approve administration privileges to some users. If the Administrator account is altered or removed the system will be taken off the NAU network until the system is restored by CEFNS IT.

OS X

CEFNS IT supports OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and 10.9 (Mavericks) for most NAU and CEFNS services. 

CEFNS IT maintains disk-images for OS X versions 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and 10.9 (Mavericks). The disk-images contain all base software required to access NAU and CEFNS services that are free or licensed via campus agreements including: 

  • Web Browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer)
  • Microsoft Office 2011
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection

CEFNS IT will maintain exclusive root access, but may provide limited administration access. If the root account is altered or removed the system will be taken off the NAU network until the system is restored by CEFNS IT.

Unix and Linux

Unix and Linux based systems are not officially supported by NAU but some CEFNS IT staff may be able to provide support for Unix or Linux systems on the NAU network.

CEFNS IT does not maintain any disk-images for Unix or Linux systems, but can perform Linux installations where necessary. We require a modern distribution with active security updates, e.g. RedHat Enterprise Linux or the Long-Term Support (LTS) of Ubuntu or an Ubuntu-derivative.

CEFNS IT will maintain exclusive root access, but may provide limited sudo access. If the root account is altered or removed the system will be taken off the NAU network until the system is restored by CEFNS IT.

Software Acquisition and Installation

CEFNS IT requires at least one day notice for any software request on an individual computer, a week for small research labs, and notification a week before the start of the semester for any classrooms or open computer labs. Only faculty or staff may request additional software; students will be instructed to talk to their adviser about acquiring software.

New software or libraries must be approved by CEFNS IT before they can be installed on any CEFNS computers. Software that is not intended for academic or business purposes is not permitted. Software availability is limited by the licenses and agreements with software vendors.

Software Support

CEFNS IT will only provide technical support for software, except for supported software used to access NAU and CEFNS services. We do not offer training or assistance using software available on our computers or provided by the College.

Viruses and Network Violations

Any system found with a virus or identified in a network violation will be immediately shutdown and taken off the NAU network. Network access will not be resumed until the system has been restored by CEFNS IT and the user has communicated with us. CEFNS IT is not responsible for data lost as a result of a virus or when the system is restored.

Data Storage 

We are increasingly been asked about storage on shared drives for both research and teaching purposes. The requests can be for both large and small amounts of storage. Within reason we can provide storage for project up to a 100 GB. However, we cannot accommodate anything larger without researchers contributing to the cost and therefore need to provision for their own storage needs when writing\submit grants for their projects. As an example a typical consumer removable hard drive of 1 TB is less than $100,  while server based enterprise storage is in the order of $500 per TB.
If you have concerns about this policy please contact the Dean's office for guidance particularly if you have then need to store big data or are preparing to write\submit grants.

Data Backup and Recovery

CEFNS IT and ITS both provide networked home directories and group shares which are backed up regularly with on- and off-site storage. Data stored in these folders will not be lost in the event of hardware failure or system restoration.

CEFNS IT does not support any other data storage mechanism and recommends against using any cloud-based storage. Users accept full responsibility for data lost or leaked by using these services.

 

Privately Owned and Non-College Owned Equipment

CEFNS IT does not provide technical support for privately owned devices or devices not owned by the College beyond assistance connecting to NAU and CEFNS services. It is up to the user to have an understanding of their system and be able to follow provided instructions, or to contact a representative for assistance.

CEFNS IT does not offer software or disk-images for home use or for privately-owned devices, unless the software is a) freely available to all, or b) available for private use as part of our University or College agreements.

Classrooms and Labs

Availability and Hours

Classrooms and computer labs are typically open during building hours as defined by the building managers. After these hours all persons are required to leave, unless the room is designated for extended hours or with approval from the building manager. 

Classrooms and computer labs are closed when scheduled for a class or registered event. Persons in the room when a class or event starts may be asked to leave and must comply. All persons who are not part of the class or event may not enter the room during these times to use computers or printers, or for any other purpose unless authorized by the class instructor or event manager prior to the event taking place. 

Persons who refuse to vacate when asked by CEFNS IT or other building staff, faculty, or event staff may be escorted out by the NAU Police Department, and further disciplinary action may be taken.

Computer Usage

CEFNS computer labs and computers are for academic and CEFNS business use only. Users engaged in unapproved activity may be asked to leave so that the computer is available for students, faculty, and staff with CEFNS business. Users found actively damaging or disrupting computers may be denied access or other disciplinary action as deemed necessary.

Users of the labs should treat the resources with respect including keeping foods and liquids well away from any computer, keyboard, etc. Damage caused intentionally or by accident may be charged to the individual.

All computer labs and computers are further subject to policies defined by central ITS and usage may be restricted or denied to users who breach these policies. Student, faculty, and staff should be familiar with the Network Policy described by central ITS.

Computing labs are a resource for NAU students and affiliates only and are not open to the public.

Scheduled Computer Shutdown 

The University has asked all areas to save resources by shutting down unused computers during the night; as a consequence CEFNS IT maintains a computer shutdown policy for all classroom and lab computers. Unfortunately, we can not distinguish computers that are in use from those that are not and all computers in classrooms and labs will be shut down according to the policy.

The first shutdown occurs at 11:00 PM and a second at 3:00 AM. Users on computers in labs and classrooms will be informed that the machine is shutting down and given a grace period to save their work. We are not responsible for the loss of unsaved work if the user ignores this notice.

Users still working may turn the computer on again by pressing the power button on the front of the box, otherwise the computers will automatically start in the morning before classes on weekdays.

Updates

CEFNS IT will update the software for the classroom lectern computers when deemed necessary, and re-image all computer labs with the latest software and updates prior to the start of each spring and fall semester.

To facilitate this process we require information concerning new software additions prior to the start of the semester. The cut-off time to notify us of new software are the last day of fall semester for the spring update and mid-July for the fall update. Please note that we can not add software to whole computer labs once the image is deployed.

Audio/Video Equipment

CEFNS IT can provide support for A/V equipment in classrooms for some issues, however hardware issues usually require communication with the vendor or supplier and may take extended periods of time. It is the responsibility of the departments in charge of a room to fund hardware replacements and repairs if needed. CEFNS IT will attempt to troubleshoot problems with A/V hardware and will replace items such as bulbs.

While CEFNS-IT will do everything it can to ensure that the A/V presentation equipment in each classroom is functional, keep in mind that this equipment does fail and that it may become unavailable without notice. It is the faculties responsibility to be prepared when a failure occurs; e.g. whiteboards and dry-erase markers are available in most classrooms.

Printing

Faculty and Staff

CEFNS IT maintains printers and a print server for CEFNS faculty, staff, and some student workers. In most cases printer access is granted through LDAP attributes and new or moving faculty and staff may not have access to printers until hiring paperwork has been completed and LDAP groups are populated.

It is the responsibility of the Departments to keep us informed of organizational changes that may affect user access to printers. Users who approach us with access issues may be told they will not be able to access printers until the Department resolves organizational changes with us.

Students

Except where specifically designated, student printers point to the Student Technology Center print server and charges apply to all prints. Printing charges are applied immediately to the student's printing account. If the student does not have a prepay or free quota these charges will be directly forwarded to the bursar each month. You may check your printing balance and make appeals at www.nau.edu/stc/print.

Charges depend on the printer they are sent to, not the printer settings or document formatting. A single side document to a black-and-white printer costs $0.10 and to a color printer costs $0.35. Color printers are always designated as such.

Errors may occur while printing which may still apply charges; Refunds are available in these cases if we are informed within one business day of the issue. Requests for refunds after this period will not be accepted.

Connecting to a Printer

Purchasing and Equipment

Computers

The University's contract with vendors allows purchases of desktops and laptops from Dell and Apple and tablets from HP. Before making any purchase contact us to check on whether it is an supported item. CEFNS IT may decline to provide support for both the hardware and NAU services if an item is not approved prior to purchasing. 

The basic requirements are a minimum of 4 GB ram and warranty of at least three years. All the above vendors can meet this requirement.

CEFNS IT follows ITS’s support policy of maintaining desktop and laptop systems up to five years, after which time we may provide limited or no support and recommend upgrading to a newer system.

Printers

CEFNS IT provides networked printers and does not recommend purchasing personal office printers.

Central ITS does have a technician that will repair and service HP or Dell laser printers with a NAU Property Control Number (PCN). They may service a ink-based printers if it is still under warranty and tagged with a NAU PCN.

Other Technology

CEFNS IT staff can not offer support for specialized research and lab equipment nor do we stock proprietary cables and components for such technology. It is the responsibility of the purchaser or department to become familiar with their technology and speak with us regarding the technical needs. We can not guarantee any proprietary technology will work with our network or will continue to work in the future, however we will have an easier time finding and maintaining solutions with proper and timely communication.

Technology Lifetime

CEFNS IT fully supports all CEFNS owned technology for the duration of its warranty, unless otherwise limited or specified by policy. After that time support may become limited and expenses for repairs or replacements become the responsibility of the Departments.

Property Control

All College owned items must be tagged with a Property Control Number (PCN) by Capital Assets. The PCN must be visible at all time so that items may be inventoried.

Disposal

Disposal of unwanted University and College property must go through Property Surplus. Items may not be thrown out or taken home by students, faculty, or staff. Unwanted computers and IT equipment may be brought to us and we will arrange for pickup from Property Surplus; for other items such as funiture communicate with the building manager.

Removing items from Property Surplus pickup piles is theft and will be reported to the NAU Police Department.

Website

The College and Department websites are maintained on the University's content management system (CMS) product supplied by Ektron and supported by the EDEN Help team. CEFNS IT is not responsible for and does not officer services to maintain College and Department content for websites on the CMS; it is each Department's responsibility to find someone to maintain their website. To work on or add content to websites hosted on the CMS you must attend training provided by EDEN Help.

CEFNS IT does maintain their own department website accessible under the CEFNS College website offering several resources related to IT operations within the College which are available to be linked to from your Department website. Using these and other inter-department links are recommended to improve the consistency of information and reduce bloat from creating new pages to reiterate information already available.