Personal Computing Software and Hardware Standards
Saint Mary's College has standardized on certain hardware and software platforms for a number of business reasons:
- Cost – standard hardware and software can often be purchased in bulk, resulting in lower cost for the College. This means that more funds may be available for other areas;
- Use value – the hardware and software selected and approved by the College leadership has been tested by IT Services experts to make sure that it will function in our environment and that it does not conflict with other hardware or software. This means that your IT work environment is more robust and dependable.
- Support value – our service technicians specialize in supporting the standard software and hardware standards, allowing us to provide better support compared to a situation where “anything goes”. This means that any problem you may encounter will be resolved faster and more efficiently.
- Recovery value – IT Services can maintain a small cache of standard hardware and software, which will get you back up and running must faster than if for each incident hardware or software has to be purchased. This means that you will recover faster from a catastrophic IT event.
IT Services is funded to provide standard equipment and productivity software to all staff whose work requires it. There may be exceptional situations where the standard hardware or software may not be bring the value to your work that you need. In that case the Chief Technology Officer will review a request to purchase non-standard hardware or software.
The College budgets non-standard hardware and software through the departments, primarily as a way of correctly allocating the costs of the particular work of the departments. So if non-standard hardware or software is required for the work of a particular department, that department will be required to provide a co-pay for the full cost of the software, and the hardware cost in excess of the standard hardware.
Unfortunately IT Services does not have a budget for these non-standard items. Your department may be asked to pay (in whole or in part) for the requested hardware or software. IT Services will work with your department head to obtain approval and to procure the software or hardware you need as soon as possible. There may be a delay in deployment if the vendors involved do not have an adequate inventory.
IT Services support falls into four categories:
- Core Support
- Limited Support
- Custom Support
- No Support
If your department is using technology not covered under core or limited support it is possible to enter into a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with IT Services to secure support. This usually applies when a small number of users need access to specialized software. Examples: SPSS, Mathematica, Quark, WordPerfect.
These products have either never been supported or have been retired from the IT Services Support lists.
No Support products may have the following characteristics:
- Products may be out of date
- The vendor may have discontinued support
- Parts are no longer available
- The product does not run in the SMC technical infrastructure
- The software does not have valid licensing
- IT Services does not have resources to support the product
* For PC users: Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook (all versions) are frequent targets of hackers and computer viruses. Every year SMC experiences virus and other malware infections as the result of the use of these programs. The loss of productivity and the drain on IT Services resources resulting from these infections can be avoided by using software alternatives on the Core Support list.
Note: IT Services is not responsible for maintaining (or enforcing) valid licenses for products that are not covered by licensing agreements negotiated by IT Services on behalf of the College. Under Saint Mary's Technology Policy (http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/node/4768) IT Services can, however, at its discretion remove unauthorized and/or unlicensed hardware or software.
No Support Products
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft Access
- Microsoft Internet Explorer
- Microsoft Publisher
- Computers from manufacturers other than Dell and Apple
- Smart phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
These products are considered to pose a threat to the security and stability of our computer environment and will be removed upon discovery. Computer systems found with prohibited or unlicensed software will be barred from the SMC network:
- Applications that involve committing the College to sharing its network bandwidth in an uncontrolled and unlimited way. This may include applications for Internet telephony and "peer-to-peer" file-sharing.
- Applications that may introduce viruses or "spyware" when run*.
- Applications not owned by SMC or covered by a Campus license or not installed by IT Services.
Where there are valid academic purposes within the College’s guidelines to use one of these products then the Chief Technology Officer at the request of the user’s Head of Department must first grant permission.
Please note that continued use of such software without prior approval from the Chief Technology Officer will result in the immediate suspension of your computer accounts and a report to the Provost for possible disciplinary action.
Note: SMC’s General Counsel has published information on the enforcement of copyright laws etc. (http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/node/9089)