Laptop computers provide important functionality for specific purposes, allowing faculty and staff to have a computing resource at hand in meetings/classes, enabling those who travel on College business to be maximally functional and productive while away, and those who occasionally work at home to eliminate duplication of resources, files, etc. Along with the privilege of using College owned laptop computers comes additional responsibility to safeguard them from potential theft or damage. If a laptop is stolen or lost there are additional security implications for any data that might have been stored on that laptop. This policy addresses actions that must be taken in order to minimize the risk of the theft of College-owned laptops and the associated costs.
All College-owned laptops are governed by this policy including systems made available as primary workstations, assigned within a departmental office, or purchased through grant dollars for specific projects. The purpose of this policy is to govern the use and liability of College-owned laptop equipment. This policy should be read and thoroughly understood prior to acquiring and using laptop equipment.
This policy is applicable to all current College staff, faculty, or administrators, and students who are using laptops loaned to them by a College department. College-owned laptops are for College use only and may not be used for personal projects or entertainment. College-owned laptops may be used for the following work-related purposes, including but not limited to:
- Using the laptop as the primary workstation computer on campus.
- Using the laptop on a College trip, such as to a conference, workshop, etc.
- Using the laptop to make a presentation on or off campus.
- Using the laptop for any other work related task.
In addition, the policies in the Data Security section apply to both College owned laptops and privately owned laptops that connect to the College’s systems.
- All users are personally responsible for the security and safety of their assigned laptop.
- All users are personally responsible for full repair or replacement cost if the laptop is damaged or made inoperable by gross misuse or negligence.
- Departments that have loaned departmental laptops to students or student organizations for use will be liable for the replacement cost of the unit should it become stolen, lost, or damaged while in the student’s possession, or if it is not returned.
- Failure to follow this policy and these procedures may result in loss of computer privileges.
- Failure to return the laptop or pay for damages may result in legal action.
Physical Protection and Reasonable Care
- Each user of a College-owned laptop is responsible for the security of that laptop, regardless of whether the laptop is used in the office, at one’s place of residence, or in any other location such as a hotel, conference room, car or airport. Users are expected to provide reasonable care and effort to protect the laptop.
- The equipment may not be transported as checked luggage on public transportation (airplanes, trains, and buses). The user will keep the equipment in their possession at all times while traveling.
- Carrying cases and laptops should be labeled accordingly so in the event of a loss the equipment might be returned. All laptops must have a College-provided asset tag.
- Special care should be taken with the security of the laptop. Equipment must not be left unattended in public areas. Do not leave your office unlocked, even for a brief time, if your laptop is not secured in the office.
- Do not store laptops in a locked car or car trunk, as severe temperatures may damage it and the car may be broken into if the laptop can be seen.
- Do not download, store, or record data that includes any personally identifiable information such as: student/faculty/staff/alumni/vendor Name, Address, SSN, account number, credit card number, etc. Should the laptop be lost or stolen, this could be used for Identity theft. The user is responsible for the security of all College data stored on, or carried with, the laptop.
- The user is responsible to make sure that virus protection updates, operating system updates and virus scans are performed regularly.
- When connecting to the College for work purposes, or when using your laptop in a public place, you should use a VPN connection to the campus to ensure that the communication is secure.
- Do not alter any system software or hardware configuration unless instructed to do so by someone from Computer Services.
- Additional application software should not be loaded onto the laptop unless approved by Computer Services.
- Safe guard the device and data by ensuring the laptop is “locked” or the user is logged off when not in use.
- [Computer Services is planning to protect College laptops with full disk encryption. This policy will be updated to include this when it is available]
Inventory Tracking and Disposal
- Upon resignation, the laptop, all peripherals, and carrying case need to be returned either to the issuing department or to the Administrative Helpdesk on or before the last day of work.
- Do not give the laptop to anyone else for use. Doing so will be considered misuse of the equipment.
- Employees who are taking administrative leave must have prior approval from HR and their immediate supervisor before taking a laptop while on leave.
- Faculty members who will be on sabbatical must have approval from their Dean, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, or President before taking the laptop with them on sabbatical.
- The department responsible for the laptop must maintain basic records of who has which laptop for what period of time. If the laptop does not have a barcode, then the unique identifying number (e.g. in the case of Dell equipment, it would be the Service Tag) should be used to identify the equipment.
- When a laptop reaches the end of its useful life, it should be returned to the Administrative Help Desk for disposal. They will ensure that the hard drive is wiped clean before the unit leaves campus.
- Report a theft immediately to the appropriate local law enforcement authority (Campus Security if on campus) and Computer Services (Helpdesk 845.257.3449 when out of the local area) as soon as the theft has been noticed. Provide Computer Services with a copy of the police report.