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Acceptable Use Policy


Information Technology


The Pratt Information Technology Division’s intention for publishing an Acceptable Use Policy is not to impose restrictions contrary to Pratt’s established culture of openness, trust, and integrity.

The Pratt Information Technology Division’s intention for publishing an Acceptable Use Policy is not to impose restrictions contrary to Pratt’s established culture of openness, trust, and integrity. Pratt is committed to protecting its students, employees, faculty, and the Institute from illegal or damaging actions by individuals, either knowingly or unknowingly. 
Internet/Intranet/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 Pratt Institute. These systems are to be used for business purposes that serve the Institute’s interests and the Pratt community in everyday operations. Pratt encourages the use of the Internet and e-mail because they make communications more efficient and effective. However, all computing resources, including Internet service and the contents of email, remain Pratt property.
Every employee has a responsibility to maintain and enhance the Institute’s public image and use email and access to the Internet productively. To ensure that all employees are fully aware of these responsibilities, the following guidelines have been established. Any improper use of the Internet, email, or other Institute-owned computing resources is unacceptable and will not be permitted. Information Technology, in concert with Human Resources, will determine which specific technology is appropriate for a given position and require that each employee not be issued more than one computer.
Reason for Policy
The purpose of this policy is to outline the acceptable use of Pratt Institute’s computer equipment. These rules are in place to protect the faculty, staff, students, and Pratt Institute. Inappropriate use exposes Pratt Institute and its affiliates to risks including virus attacks, data breaches, compromise of network systems and services, and legal liability.
This policy applies to information, electronic and computing devices, and network resources used to conduct Pratt Institute business or interact with internal networks and institutional systems. Regardless of ownership and including equipment privately owned by faculty, staff, and students (e.g., laptop computers, tablet computers, smartphones, USB storage devices, etc.), but only concerning how they connect to or access the Institution’s information resources and the activities they perform with those resources. All employees, contractors, consultants, temporary, and other workers at Pratt Institute are responsible for exercising good judgment regarding appropriate use of information, electronic devices, and network resources following Pratt Institute policies and standards, Federal and local laws, and regulations. Exceptions to this policy are documented in section 4.3
3.1.1  Pratt Institute proprietary information stored on electronic and computing devices, whether owned or leased by Pratt Institute, the employee, or a third party, remains the sole property of Pratt Institute. 
3.1.2  All employees have a responsibility to promptly report the theft, loss, or unauthorized disclosure of Pratt Institute proprietary information.
3.1.3  Employees may access, use, or share Pratt Institute proprietary information only to the extent it is authorized and necessary to fulfill your assigned job duties.
3.1.4  Employees are responsible for exercising good judgment regarding the reasonableness of personal use. Individual departments are responsible for creating guidelines concerning personal use of Internet/Intranet/Extranet systems. In the absence of such guidelines, employees should be guided by Institutional policies on personal use, and if there is any uncertainty, employees should consult their supervisor or manager.
3.1.5  For security and network maintenance purposes, authorized individuals within Pratt Institute may monitor equipment, systems, and network traffic at any time.
3.1.6  Pratt Institute reserves the right to audit networks and systems periodically to ensure public safety, compliance with this policy and local, Federal, and International laws and regulations.
3.2   Security and Proprietary Information
3.2.1  All mobile and computing devices connected to the internal network must comply with the Principle of Least Privilege.
3.2.2    System-level and user-level passwords must comply with the Password Guidelines. Providing access to another individual, either deliberately or through failure to secure its access, is prohibited.
3.2.3  All computing devices must be secured with a password-protected screensaver or screen lock with the automatic activation feature set to 15 minutes or less. You must lock the screen or log off when the device is unattended.
3.2.5  Employees must use extreme caution when opening email attachments received from unknown senders, which may contain malware.
3.2.6    All mobile devices assigned to employees, contractors, consultants, temporary, and other workers at Pratt Institute must ensure that those devices check into Pratt Institute’s network at least once every 30 days to remain compliant with this policy.
3.3   Unacceptable Use
The following activities are, in general, prohibited. Some employees may be exempted from these restrictions during their legitimate job responsibilities (e.g., systems administration staff may need to disable the network access if that host is disrupting production services).
Under no circumstances is an employee of Pratt Institute authorized to engage in any activity that is illegal under local, state, federal, or international law while utilizing Pratt Institute-owned resources.
The lists below are by no means exhaustive, but attempt to provide a framework for activities which fall into the category of unacceptable use.
3.3.1  System and Network Activities
The following activities are strictly prohibited, with no exceptions:

  1. Violations of the rights of any person or company protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation or distribution of “pirated” or other software products that are not appropriately licensed for use by Pratt Institute.
  2. Computing systems may not be used to play computer games during work periods unless part of your official Pratt duties.
  3. Unauthorized duplication of copyrighted material includes digitization and distribution of photographs from magazines, books, other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music, and the installation of any copyrighted software for which Pratt Institute or the end-user does not have an active license is strictly prohibited.
  4. Accessing data, a server, or an account for any purpose other than conducting Pratt Institute business, even if you have authorized access, is prohibited.
  5. Exporting software, technical information, encryption software, or technology that violates international or regional export control laws is illegal. The appropriate management should be consulted before the export of any material that is in question.
  6. Exporting of personal or sensitive information to external devices such as but not limited to USB Drives, CD/DVDs, Cell Phones, unauthorized cloud services like Dropbox, iCloud, etc. is strictly prohibited. A request must be made to I.T. to approve such data and which approved method can be used.
  7. Revealing your account password to others or allowing the use of your account by others, including family and other household members, when work is done at home.
  8. Using a Pratt Institute computing asset to procure or transmit material actively violates federal, state, or local sexual harassment or hostile workplace laws.
  9. Causing security breaches or disruptions of network communication. Security breaches include, but are not limited to, accessing data of which the employee is not an intended recipient or logging into a server or account that the employee is not expressly authorized to access unless these duties are within the scope of regular duties. For this section’s purposes, “disruption” includes, but is not limited to, network sniffing, pinged floods, packet spoofing, denial of service, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.
  10. Port scanning or security scanning is expressly prohibited unless prior notification to the Information Technology department head has been made.
  11. Executing any form of network monitoring, which will intercept data not intended for the employee’s host, unless this activity is a part of the employee’s regular job/duty.
  12. Circumventing user authentication or security of any host, network, or account.
  13. Introducing honeypots, honeynets, or similar technology on the Pratt Institute network.
  14. Interfering with or denying service to any user other than the employee’s host (for example, denial of service attack).
  15. Using any program/script/command, or sending messages of any kind, with the intent to interfere with, or disable, a user’s terminal session, by any means, locally or via the Internet/Intranet/Extranet.
  16. Providing information about, or lists of, Pratt Institute employees to parties outside Pratt Institute without prior approval or unless it is part official duties.
  17. The use of institutional computing facilities to effect or receive the electronic transfer of funds is unrelated to Institute business purposes.

3.3.2  Email and Communication Activities
When using the Institute’s resources to access and use the Internet, users must realize they represent Pratt Institute. Therefore, they should conduct themselves in a manner that is aligned with Pratt Institute’s culture and values. The following activities are strictly prohibited:

  1. Sending unsolicited email messages, including sending “junk mail” or other advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such content (email spam).
  2. Any form of harassment via email, telephone, or texting, whether through language, frequency, or size of messages.
  3. Unauthorized use, or forging, of email header information.
  4. Solicitation of email for any other email address, other than that of the poster’s account, with the intent to harass or to collect replies.
  5. Creating or forwarding “chain letters,” “Ponzi,” or “pyramid” schemes of any type.
  6. Use of unsolicited email originating from within Pratt Institute’s networks of other Internet/Intranet/Extranet service providers on behalf of, or to advertise, any service hosted by Pratt Institute or connected via Pratt Institute’s network.
  7. Posting the same or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of Usenet newsgroups (newsgroup spam).

Policy Compliance
4.1   Compliance Measurement
The IT team will verify compliance with this policy through various methods, including but not limited to business tool reports, internal and external audits, and feedback to the policy owner.
4.2  Procedures for Handling Violations
In case of a written, oral, or electronically transmitted complaint of misuse of this policy, the Director of Academic Computing or designee will request authorization to access information in that user’s account and, if warranted, to suspend the account until the matter is resolved.

Access to and suspension of accounts must be recorded, and the alleged offender(s) notified as soon as possible. If the complaint appears to have merit, the Directors of Human Resources and Academic Computing will meet with the alleged offender and follow the Institute’s legal procedural guidelines.
4.3   Exceptions
The team must approve any exception to the policy in advance and adequately document them. Any exceptions must include valid reasoning, a compensating control, and a date when the exemption will end. After conducting a review of the proposed exception, the requestor will be notified of the CIO’s decision.  If the request for an exception is denied, the requestor must continue to comply with this policy in its entirety.
4.4   Non-Compliance
An employee found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.  Pratt will cooperate with external law enforcement agencies in the investigation of criminal activity occurring within the Pratt Internet domain.
Definitions and Terms
The following definitions and terms can be found in the SANS Glossary located at:

  • Principle of Least Privilege: The principle means giving a user account only those privileges essential to perform its intended function.
  • Honeypot: A computer security mechanism set to detect, deflect, or, in some manner, counteract attempts at unauthorized use of information systems.
  • Honeynet: A network set up with intentional vulnerabilities; its purpose is to invite attack so that an attacker’s activities and methods can be studied and that information used to increase network security.
  • Proprietary Information: Also known as a trade secret is information, a company wishes to keep confidential. Proprietary information can include secret formulas, processes, and methods used in production.
  • Spam: Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.

Revision History
APRIL 25, 2019
NOVEMBER 10, 2020