Postgraduate Administrator Responsibilities
Our goal is to provide efficient access to computing facilities for students. For most students, the standard installation (perhaps with some extra software installed by our technical staff) will be sufficient. However, we acknowledge that some postgraduate students may require regular administrator access to maintain software and systems for their research.
If you are granted administrator rights on your machine then you are taking on a very significant responsibility, and this document explains what you need to be aware of. Some students who have experience administering home networks have incorrectly assumed that the same skills are sufficient to be an effective administrator in the university environment, and the consequences of this have included loss of not only their own data, but a significant impact on other students, and a lot of technical staff time to recover our systems from the ensuing problems (including severe virus infections!).
Requesting permission for postgraduate administrator rights.
Please print out this page and initial each of the following points only if you fully understand them and know how to perform them without any help. (If you do not know this much then you have work to do on your own, before being allowed to become an administrator on CSSE computers or virtual machines!) Then get your supervisor to sign it, so s/he also takes responsibility for your competence as an administrator, and take it to the Chair of the Facilities Committee, Assoc. Prof. Tim Bell for final (signed) approval. When this has been granted, you may take it to one of the programmers who will set you up with a virtual machine or administrator rights on the host operating system as needed.
- Virus Checking: You must maintain your computer or virtual machine with an effective virus checking system operating continuously; Sophos is the current UC standard for Windows and will be supplied pre-installed on a department provided computer or virtual machine running Windows. This means you must not disable the anti-virus software at any time. In the case where you have created your own Windows virtual machine you must install anti-virus software, such as Avira or AVG and keep it updated daily.
- Data Backup: You must ensure that your data is adequately backed up, at least on a daily basis, for example by storing/copying important data to your H: or P: drives (or by writing hard copies to DVDs for long term archival or portable hard drives). Often the easiest recovery from hardware and software failures is to reset the computer configuration, so you must always be prepared for all data on the computer to be lost!
- Secure Operation: You must NOT routinely use the computer or virtual machine with administrative rights since this opens up a number of security holes. You may elevate yourself temporarily to have administrator rights only for maintenance purposes.
- System Updates: Departmental computers, both Linux and Windows, are regularly updated with system patches, and you are expected to not interfere with these. If you are running an OS inside a virtual machine you have created you are expected to ensure it is always up to date with system patches. Please note that ICTS react very quickly to computers spreading viruses or otherwise threatening the Canterbury University network, by disconnecting the offending computer from the network and notifying the department. You should subscribe to a relevant updating service that informs you of the latest patches, etc., and know precisely how to use it unaided.
- Software licensing: You must check the licensing
on software you want to use (and any software it may depend on) before
you install it. Normally, software available for Linux is distributed
under the GPL, BSD, MIT, Creative Commons or similar licenses and can be
used freely. This is often not the case with Windows software.
If you later realise you have installed software that might violate the licensing and/or terms and conditions you will need to uninstall it immediately. If you’re unsure please ask a programmer for help.
At no time are you permitted to use or install any commercial software that has been cracked or otherwise modified to circumvent any licensing functions of that software.
- Software Installation: You must know precisely how to install any additional software that you may need and also how to configure it so that "administrator" access is not required to run it (whenever this is at all possible).
- Fault Reporting: If you become aware of any problems that may affect the network (such as viruses and/or intrusion attempts) you should report them to the technical staff immediately by phoning the Duty Programmer (ext. 8251), or by requesting a new task.
- Computer Policies: You agree to abide by all the computer use policies detailed by both ICTS and CSSE.