Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

This Acceptable Use Policy constitutes a campus-wide policy that applies to all users and is intended to allow for the proper use of all Piedmont College information technology resources. This policy is in place to protect the faculty, staff, students and College from illegal or damaging actions by individuals, either knowingly or unknowingly.

Policy Sections

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Authorized Users

All users should familiarize themselves with the contents of this policy and demonstrate the highest respect for the rights of others in their use. Access to the College's information technology (IT) resources is a privilege that may be limited or revoked if an individual violates College policies or state or federal laws. Authorized users are:

  • Current faculty and staff of the College;
  • Students who are currently enrolled in the College; and
  • Authorized guests and vendors, whose access does not interfere with the access of resources by others, result in the loss of data or other resources, violate school policy, or any other laws


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User Access and Password Protection

User access to information technology resources is granted to an individual by the College solely for his or her own use. To help protect the integrity, security, and privacy of user accounts the College employees should not share passwords with any other employee unless expressly authorized to do so by the appropriate College authority with responsibility for the account. Keeping passwords secure and attending to an account while logged on are fundamental to the security of every user account. Sharing access with another individual undermines this security and leaves it vulnerable to abuse by others. Sharing or transferring access may also jeopardize the security of the entire information technology system.

Securing access also helps protect against unauthorized activities on an account for which an individual could be held personally responsible. For example, if someone else uses an account with the account holder's permission and violates College policy, the account holder can be charged with the violation and made subject to the same student or employment disciplinary action as the actual user.

Users should immediately report any suspected unauthorized use of their username or other suspicious activity to their system administrator.

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Conduct and Behavior

All users should observe the same standards of ethical conduct and courteous behavior that govern non-electronic vocal/written communications and other personal interactions whenever they use the College's IT resources. Use by College employees that is unrelated to their official position should be reasonable and limited in both time and resources and must not interfere with College functions or the employee's performance of employment responsibilities. Conduct and behavior violations may result in limiting or even denial of access to these resources, as well as employment disciplinary action.

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User Privacy, Integrity and Operational Security

The privacy of all users and the integrity and operational security of the College's information technology system must be respected by all. College IT resources must not be used to attempt unauthorized access to private information maintained by users or by the College, even if that information is not securely protected or is otherwise available. The fact that an individual account and its data may be unprotected does not confer either an ethical or legal right to access it. Unauthorized access to private information constitutes a violation of this policy, and possibly state or federal law. This type violation may result in serious disciplinary charges, up to and including termination.

To the highest possible standard, Piedmont College strives to preserve individuals' privacy. However, users must recognize that data created on the College network remains the property of the College. Because of the need to protect the network, administration cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information stored on any network device belonging to the college. The College reserves the right to monitor equipment, systems, and network traffic at all times and also reserves the right to audit network systems on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with this policy.

Users should be aware that most institutional systems are backed up on a routine basis to ensure the ability to recover from computer or network failures or disturbances. Backup procedures are generally not designed or intended for long-term storage of files. However, all users should be aware that files or email messages that they have deleted may still persist on backups and may therefore be subject to disclosure in a duly authorized investigation.

Internet, Intranet, and Extranet- related systems, including but not limited to computer equipment, software, operating systems, storage media, network accounts providing electronic mail, WWW browsing, and FTP, are the property of Piedmont College. These systems are to be used for business purposes in serving the interests of the college in the course of normal operations. Appropriate use should always be legal, ethical, and show restraint in the consumption of College resources. Also, appropriate usage should demonstrate the respect for intellectual property, ownership of data, system security mechanisms, and individual rights to privacy and freedom from intimidation, harassment and unwarranted annoyances. Inappropriate use exposes the College to risks including virus attacks, compromise of network systems and services, as well as legal issues.

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Misuse of IT Resources

Users must not use College information technology resources in the commission of any illegal or otherwise unauthorized act. Users must agree to strict adherence to this principle. Violation of state or federal laws is inconsistent with ethical and responsible use of College IT resources and is strictly prohibited. In addition to possible civil and criminal penalties, illegal use can result in severe employment discipline, up to and including termination. The College will cooperate fully with law enforcement officials regarding criminal investigations of any use of its IT resources in violation of this principle.

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Unauthorized Commercial Use

Users must not use College information technology resources for any unauthorized commercial purposes or for personal gain or profit. These IT resources are provided in support of the College's educational, research and administrative activities. Other uses, such as those that indirectly support this mission, including reasonable and limited personal use, while permissible, must necessarily receive a lower priority. Unauthorized commercial use of college resources is inappropriate and inconsistent with the College's mission.

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User Responsibility

All users will sign a statement affirming they have read, understand, and intend to comply with the policy provisions prior to gaining access to the Piedmont College's data systems and networks. Due to the rapid nature of change in both information technologies and their applications, the College may amend this policy whenever deemed necessary or appropriate. All members of the College community are given notice of this policy by virtue of its publication, and are subject to it on the same basis. Ignorance of this policy does not relieve any user of his or her responsibilities under the policy. Users are encouraged to periodically review this policy in order to understand their rights and responsibilities.

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Identity Theft Prevention Program

Millions of Americans have their identities stolen each year, where thieves may drain consumer accounts, damage their credit, and even threaten their physical or medical safety. In response to the growing threat of identity theft, Congress passed the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) primarily targeting financial organizations that deal with individual credit accounts. The law was later expanded to include identity theft in any organization where personal information is used in the normal course of business.

In November 2007, the Federal Trade Commission finalized Red Flag Rules to encourage fraud prevention through recognition and detection of warning signs of potential identity theft. Piedmont College aims to prevent identity theft and fraud on two fronts:

  1. By implementing data security practices that make it more difficult to gain unauthorized access to personal or identifying information that may be used to open or access accounts, and
  2. By teaching faculty and staff to recognize and detect Red Flags that may be warning signs of potential identity theft and take steps to prevent fraud from occurring.


Piedmont College has an Identity Theft Prevention Policy to protect all new and existing accounts. In addition to data security, this policy is intended to prevent and stop theft and fraudulent use of personal data to help protect students, faculty, staff, and other constituents from damages related to fraudulent activity. Responsibility for administration of the Identity Theft Prevention Program including the Red Flag Rules lies with the Office of the Executive Vice President for Institutional Resources. The program administrator is Ann Sutton who can provide a copy of the policy in its entirety. College employees are expected to notify the program administrator immediately once they become aware of an incident of identity theft or of the college's failure to comply with the program so that immediate and appropriate action can be taken.

More information on the subject is available by downloading Piedmont College's Identity Theft Prevention Program policy document.

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