1. General Policy

Montana State University Billings Computer Services maintains the centralized computing facility that supports instruction, research, and administrative functions of the college.

This support includes consulting, documentation, training, application development and maintenance, system software maintenance, network facilities, and help desk. Through these service functions, Computer Services endeavors to provide computing resources that will ensure instructional program quality and dynamic administrative information processing.

Services may also be provided to other educational institutions and state agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations, and industry to the extent that instructional and administrative services for Montana State University - Billings are not negatively impacted.

Computer Services will not knowingly compete with private business.

The use of the college computing facilities is governed by federal and state laws, and the policies of Montana State University Billings in order to preserve the security, confidentially, and integrity of software, data, and communications.

Use of Computer Services resources is recorded to provide planning and budgeting information and to track computer resource usage. Recharge accounting procedures are used. Services must be authorized by the Director of Computer Services.

2. Management of Computing Equipment

Board of Regent's policy 1901 "Managing of Computing Equipment" provides: "Each campus of the Montana University System shall establish centralized management of all computing equipment other than research or laboratory machines."

In accordance with the above policy, Montana State University Billings vests management authority of all computing equipment other than research or laboratory machines in the Director of Computer Services with the advice and assistance of the University Computer Committee. Further, the acquisition and disposal of all computing equipment shall be managed by the director. Resolution of conflicts of use of computing equipment normally rests with the director; however, unsatisfactory resolutions may be appealed to the University Computer Committee and from there to the Chancellor of the University.

3. User Responsibility

It is up to the user to utilize the appropriate protection mechanisms available to insure whatever degree of security may be deemed necessary to restrict use of files by others. As the custodian of the files, Computer Services will strive to preserve the integrity of all files on any system maintained by Computer Services. However, the user has a responsibility for the maintenance, integrity, and purity of files and output. Computer Services will maintain automatic backups of all files on all such computer systems; since such backups are produced automatically and need not be looked at by anybody, this should not be construed to violate the guarantee of privacy. Computer Services will not be responsible for loss of data due to hardware failures and/or software failures beyond its control.

4. Software Use Policy

Software is generally purchased for and licensed to a single unit (computer) or site (MSU Billings). Reproducing (copying) any software may violate MSU Billings' license agreements and/or may be in violation of the copyright laws of the United States.

Employees and students of Montana State University Billings are prohibited from using any equipment owned by MSU Billings to make any unauthorized copies of computer software or related documentation.

When an employee anticipates copying software for other than backups as permitted under license or related documentation, the employee shall contact the Director. If there is a question of legality, the Director will refer the question to legal counsel. If this procedure is followed, the state will defend the employee if suit is brought provided the copying is restricted to that reviewed and approved by counsel. MSU Billings will not accept responsibility for users that may be in violation of vendor license agreements or federal laws.

Individuals apprehended copying or in possession of copied MSU Billings software or software licensed to MSU Billings without the knowledge and permission of MSU Billings Computer Services will be treated under "Unauthorized Use". In addition, such individuals may be prosecuted under the federal laws. MSU Billings will not accept responsibility for students or employees that may be in violation of vendor license agreements or federal laws. In the event an employee is sued by the copyright owner or licenser, the indemnification policy in section 804.4 of the Montana University System Policy and Procedures Manual will be utilized.

No individual may change or destroy software, or data that is not licensed to or owned by them, unless authorized by the owner or license holder. Such action will be considered as "Improper Use" and dealt with as "Unauthorized Use".

Individuals contemplating using borrowed software on MSU Billings computers are urged to contact Computer Services to assure themselves that they are not in violation of MSU Billings policies or the law.

5. Protocol For Investigation of Security Violation

In the event of an actual, suspected, or anticipated violation of the security of a computer system, designated system administrators may inspect any file on the computer system in an effort to determine the nature and means of the violation and the perpetrator thereof. If necessary, incoming calls over the phone system will be monitored. Copies of public system files found in user directories may be deleted. Notification to users of alterations made to their files, as required in Section 6 of this policy document, may be postponed until conclusion of the investigation, if desirable to protect the integrity of the investigation. Files will be backed up before alteration so that they may be recovered if circumstances warrant.

Only those individuals named by the Director of Computer Services as being directly responsible for the security of a time-sharing system ("System Administrators") may use any special privilege which permits them to examine, copy, and/or print any file, program, electronic mail, or other information in a user's account without the user's prior permission; this shall apply equally to mail in the system which has not been delivered to a user's directory.

The individuals mentioned above may only use their special privileges in the event of a violation (or reasonable suspicion of violation) of computer security. If they examine, copy, and/or print information in a user's account, they shall notify the user that they have taken that action. In addition, a report on the incident and the investigation shall be provided to the Director of Computer Services.

It is specifically prohibited for a system administrator to divulge any information obtained using special privileges to any person other than the Director of Computer Services.

6. Deletion Policy

Computer Services may occasionally find it necessary, due to lack of disk space, to delete some files of users. Prior notification will be given to users before essential files are deleted. Computer Services personnel will decide which files to delete on the basis of file size, file content, and frequency of access. Computer Services shall notify any affected user; the notification shall contain the names of all files which were deleted and will inform the user that the files can be restored from a backup, if necessary.

Inspection of user's files on backup media by Computer Services personnel in the course of responding to a request from that user for restoration of one or more files shall not be deemed a violation of the user's privacy.

7. Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property stored on an MSU Billings or remote computer (including word processing documents, databases, spreadsheets, source code and/or object code, and any other files or information stored on an MSU Billings computer) which has been written or created by a user shall have its ownership determined by applicable law. One is prohibited from using (either for commercial purposes or for non-profit academic publication) any program or file created by a student or faculty member without that person's permission in writing; one may also be required to get further permission from others so that one has the clear legal right to use the information.

8. Unauthorized Use of Computing and Network Facilities*

The unauthorized use or abuse of any college owned or leased computer or network system or data files or software used by these systems is prohibited by Sections 45-6-310 and 45-6-311, MCA, Board Policy 55-002-R0687, and by this college policy.

The college reserves the right to cancel accounts, initiate disciplinary action, limit or restrict access to computing services, file criminal charges, or take other action against users who act in an irresponsible manner and/or infringe upon the rights of other users. Faculty and staff may be subject to disciplinary action and students may be suspended. Computer Services will routinely report to the appropriate administrator any user found committing any of the following unauthorized actions:

  • ·Modifying data which is not specifically assigned to or created by the user.
  • Accessing another's account without prior permission of the owner.
  • Interfering with other users of the system.
  • Inappropriate use or alteration of hardware, software, or networks.
  • Using a MAIL facility in an offensive manner. · Using an account for other than appropriate purposes.

If you suspect that someone has gained access to your account, please report the incident to Computer Services immediately. Even though most abuse takes the form of pranks or experiments, they cause serious problems in time and inconvenience for legitimate computer users.

* Originally issued November 3, 1983 by President Bruce Carpenter.
Policy prepared by the Computer Committee.
Accepted and recommended by Academic Senate, May 29, 1986.
Approved by President Carpenter, June 16, 1986.
Revisions approved by President Carpenter, August 31, 1987.
Revisions approved by President Carpenter, August 15, 1992.

See also: Board of Regents policies