Policies for Use of Remote Control Applications
(Approved by CIT, January 19, 1999)
``Remote Control'' is a tool used by the Information Systems Support
Center (ISSC) to allow Help Desk and other support personnel access to a
user's computer for support purposes. When Remote Control is active
support personnel can do one of two things: 1) Observe activity on a
user's computer or 2) Take control of a user's computer directly and
perform a task or correct a problem. Remote Control is an extremely
valuable support tool. The ability to observe activity on a user's
computer allows support personnel to very quickly pinpoint the source of
a user's problem and provide proper instruction to the user. The ability
to take control of a user's computer directly allows support personnel
to quickly resolve complex system problems without having to go to the
user's office or room, or have the user bring in the computer. This all
enhances user productivity.
Although Remote Control offers the opportunity to dramatically improve
support levels and enhance user productivity, it also brings up issues
of privacy. Currently, Information Systems uses the Tivoli application
suite to perform remote control activities. Tivoli Remote Control
incorporates privacy protection features that protect the user's
computer from unwanted or unknown intrusion. In addition, existing
privacy policies within Information Systems and the University
supplement Remote Control privacy features. Policies governing use of
Remote Control by Information Systems appear below. This information
also discusses the privacy features built into Tivoli Remote Control.
Information Systems - Systems Management Group
The Systems Group within Information Systems maintains the servers and
infrastructure for remote control. This Group consists of the Director
of System Support Services and a group of Systems Administrators who are
responsible for system maintenance and implementation. This group has
complete access to the computers that serve the network and WFU users,
but does not have access to individual ThinkPads.
Management level access to Remote control servers must be limited to the
Systems Group. Students or others working with the Systems Group will
have no access to remote control servers. Consultants working on
implementations or upgrades of the remote control environment will have
access only while directly supervised by a member of the Systems Team.
Remote Control software cannot be configured or installed in such a way
as to permit IS staff members or others to take control of a user's
machine without the user's express knowledge and specific approval.
Approval cannot be blanket, but must occur in every instance in which a
remote control session is requested. Furthermore, the approval process
must be integrated into the client software as specified in the
``Information Systems - Support Center'' section below. Tivoli Remote
Control software meets all these conditions.
Information Systems - Support Center
The Information Systems Support Center will be responsible for the
initiation of all remote control sessions. Sessions are only initiated
through a call from a user to the Support Center. Such calls will be
documented through the opening of a trouble ticket. Remote control
sessions cannot be opened by anyone other than Information Systems
Support Center staff.
Remote Control software is designed and installed such that the user has
the choice to accept or reject any and all remote control sessions at
any time. This default configuration cannot be changed by ISSC or any
other member of the IS staff. This configuration does not permit members
of ISSC or other IS staff members to force a computer to accept a remote
control session. Whenever a Remote Control session is requested, a
window on the user's screen will ask the user to accept or reject the
requested session. Upon rejection, the remote control software will
disallow the session. No member of ISSC or IS will have the power to
override this rejection.
If the user allows a remote control session, the user will have the
power to terminate the remote control session at any time. With Tivoli
Remote Control, the user will be able to terminate a remote control
session by pressing ALT-T at any time. Then the user will see a screen
allowing them to change the session status. Allowed statuses will be
``Active'', which grants full control; ``Monitor'', which will allow the
initiator of the session to watch activity on the user's computer;
``Suspend'', which will temporarily suspend all remote control activity;
or ``Terminate'', which will immediately halt all remote control activity
and break the remote control session.
Remote control sessions will not allow for transfer of files between the
user's computer and the session initiator's computer.
Remote control software will be installed by default as part of the WFU
Standard Software Load. The software, however, must be launched manually
by the end-user whenever it is needed. This precaution adds an extra
layer of security.
Policies for Use of Tivoli Software Distribution and Asset
(Approved January 1999)
Tivoli Software Distribution and Asset Management Software (Tivoli) are
tools used by Information Systems to maintain the computing systems of
the University by keeping the Standard Load Software current. Keeping
the Standard Load Software current insures students and faculty members
will always have the same set of applications for use in the classroom,
and that the latest problem fixes and software versions are always
available to the WFU academic community. This document provides details
of the functionality of Tivoli, the benefits of the software, and policy
information concerning the use of this software.
Software will give ThinkPad users higher levels of support by providing
software updates throughout the year - when they are needed rather than
after the fact.
Timely virus protection patches, security and other bug patches, and
latest versions of software will be provided as soon as they become
available. Such timeliness will greatly enhance the security and
functionality of ThinkPads because IS will be able to respond quickly to
such emergencies as virus outbreaks or unwanted security intrusions on
Ability to deliver extensive software upgrades directly over the network
should also eliminate the need for faculty to return their ThinkPads to
IS each year for load refresh.
Tivoli will pre-configure upgrades and installs for the WFU ThinkPad
environment. This will eliminate the need for user intervention in the
installation process. Users will, however, be able to defer or refuse
software upgrades should they choose.
Tivoli provides a way to easily identify basic build information about
ThinkPad hardware (i.e. BIOS revisions). This information is valuable
for activities such as Y2K evaluation and repair, or implementing bug
fixes associated with hardware issues.
Tivoli can track the number of copies of Standard Load software in use
on campus. As the University has customarily over purchased to insure
full license compliance, these numbers will be used to reduce annual
Tivoli Software Distribution and Asset Management begins the software
distribution process by performing a predefined file inventory on a
ThinkPad. This inventory looks for specific file types within specified
directories. These directories consist of Standard Load software
directories. Directory lists will be available for review upon request.
The current directory list is attached.
Tivoli is incapable of scanning for, opening or copying personal data
files. In addition to Tivoli not being able to do such scanning and
manipulation, IS and University policies control such activity.
Tivoli compares files found during the inventory with a predefined list
of software signatures. This software signature list consists of
software contained within the Standard Software Load. A list of these
signatures will be available for examination upon request.
The signature/inventory comparison reveals which Standard Load
applications need upgrades and where patches are required. Patches such
as virus protection updates or security patches are pushed out
automatically. Upgrades such as new versions of Netscape or Microsoft
Office offer the user the option to defer/decline the upgrade, or to
manually perform the upgrade from a software installation menu at a
Using the results of this comparison, Tivoli also keeps a running count
of the number of copies of Standard Load software running on campus.
Only software designated in the signature list is examined and counted.
The counts are used for meeting our contractual license agreements.
IS does not engage in the management of any ThinkPad software not found
in the WFU Standard Load. Such software is the sole responsibility of
the individual owner, and such software cannot be added to the signature
lists for Tivoli to manage.