11.2.11 Software Policy

Proposed: 07/08/2015
Adopted: 08/07/2015
Last Reviewed: 07/31/2018
Effective: 08/07/2015







1.0 Overview

The Office of Technology Resources (OTR) faces an increasing demand to provide instructional technology and software in a timely, secure, and reliable manner. In order to meet this demand effectively, OTR must implement policy that will guide the procurement, licensing, evaluation, and implementation of software. This policy also seeks to reduce the University’s exposure to security risks and assures that software is used in compliance with license restrictions and copyright law.

This policy does not seek to impede academic freedom or otherwise prevent faculty and staff from using instructionally sound software products so long as said products do not pose a security risk or compromise MGA’s network, servers, computers, or users.

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all software purchased for and installed on MGA computers and servers is appropriately evaluated, licensed, installed, and used in accordance with license agreements, federal laws, and MGA policies.

3.0 Scope

This policy applies to all computers and software purchased, owned, or leased by Middle Georgia State University.

4.0 Policy

4.1 Software Requests

4.1.1 A Software Request must be submitted and approved by OTR prior to purchasing and installing any academic or administrative software, including third-party hosted software, which will be installed in a computer classroom, computer labs, or the Testing Center.

4.1.2 Classrooms, computer labs, the Testing Centers, & Kiosks: A completed and signed Software Request must be submitted no later than 6 weeks before the beginning of each semester. OTR will not process forms after the deadline passes for the upcoming semester. The Chief Information Officer (CIO), Dean, and Provost may allow form submission after the 6 week deadline.

4.1.3 Conference Center meeting rooms: A completed and signed Software Request must be submitted no later than 4 weeks before software is needed. OTR reserves the right to charge a fee for evaluation and installation services for non-University sponsored events. 

  • The CIO and Vice President for Fiscal Affairs may allow form submission after the 4 week deadline.

4.1.4 Each software request requires a contact person. This person will actively work with OTR during the evaluation period. The contact person is expected to:

  • Acquire software, hardware, manuals, licenses, funding, etc. from the vendor
  • Participate in all meetings between the vendor and OTR
  • Actively test software functionality

4.2 Software Evaluation

4.2.1 OTR will use the Software Evaluation Checklist to evaluate software. Software must pass all three major criteria before it will be approved. The three criteria are security, compatibility, and resource availability.

4.2.2 Evaluations will begin only when funding, if applicable, is approved.

4.2.3 The CIO approves or denies software based on the evaluation team’s findings.

  • Software denial can only be overturned by written approval by the Provost or their acting authority.

4.2.4 OTR reserves the right to re-evaluate software if:

  • Major updates, patches, fixes, or newer versions are released
  • The physical location of the software changes
  • Any significant change occurs with the software that may interfere with other software or hardware.

4.3 Software Purchases

4.3.1 OTR purchases MGA core software and licenses. See Appendix A for a complete list of MGA core software.

4.3.2 Schools and departments fund all non-core software, including any supporting hardware, support agreements, annual fees, and training. The following exceptions apply:

  • Items that are included in the Student Technology Fees budget
  • Items that are included in the MSDNAA (I.T. only).

4.3.3 Software licenses must be purchased for every computer in a computer classroom. The following exceptions apply:

  • If instructor station is the only computer to host the software
  • If license metering software is included with the software then purchasing a smaller number of licenses is possible. Metering software must be approved by OTR.
  • If approved by CIO.

4.3.4 Software licenses must be purchased for every computer in a computer lab if students will need access to the software outside the classroom. • If license metering software is included with the software then purchasing a smaller number of licenses is possible. Metering software must be approved by OTR.

  • If approved by CIO.

4.3.5 The total cost of software should include:

  • Educational price of software. No tax. 
  • Ongoing technical support or maintenance fees (required)
  • Annual license fees
  • New hardware or upgraded hardware required to implement software
  • Training
  • Hosting fees if applicable

4.3.6 Classroom and computer lab software may be budgeted through Student Technology Fees provided sufficient funds exist. Requests for Student Technology fees should be made through the Dean of each school.

4.3.7 Software should be purchased through USG’s Technology Store (http://techstore.usg.edu ) or state approved vendors in order to take advantage of special pricing. Tax should never be applied to software purchased for Middle Georgia State University. Contact the Business Office for assistance with finding vendors.

4.3.8 Software solicitors are highly encouraged to seek out OTR representatives and/or division administrators before approaching individual faculty and staff with their product(s) in order to mitigate any possible confusion or conflicts that may occur because:

  • Solicitors are not familiar with the technical requirements associated with their product or the laws governing information privacy.
  • Solicitors are not familiar with the University’s technical architecture or support policies and procedures. Solicitors often inadvertently mislead people as to the capabilities, ease of use, ease of support, and costs of their product.

4.4 Software Support Levels

4.4.1 OTR provides full technical support or Level 1 support for MGA core software. Full support means:

  • OTR will install the software
  • OTR will implement updates and patches as needed
  • OTR will troubleshoot errors and provide problem resolution
  • Support is available during normal, advertised hours.

4.4.2 OTR provides limited support or Level 2 support for approved third-party software (Appendix B). Limited support means:

  • OTR will install the software provided license and technical requirements are met.
  • Software vendors provide technical support and training. End users must contact the vendor for problem resolution.
  • OTR will provide assistance at vendor’s request or as time and resources permit.
  • Support for MGA core software takes precedence.
  • Updates, patches, etc. are implemented during regularly scheduled maintenance periods – generally between semesters.

4.4.3 OTR does not support software unless it has been approved.

4.4.4 OTR does not support software installed on personally owned computers or devices. The following exceptions apply:

  • Non-Macon State University groups may request software installation in Conference Center rooms and computer labs for upcoming meetings. OTR requires 2 weeks’ notice for basic classrooms and 4 weeks’ notice for computer labs in the Conference Center and Libraries. OTR provides Level 2 support. An hourly fee is charged.
  • Laptops requiring special configuration to join MGA’s wireless network. Students should seek help from the Technical Assistance Center.

4.4.5 Software vendors are responsible for providing fixes, patches, solutions, or updates to remedy security threats or software incompatibilities.

4.5 Software installation and maintenance

4.5.1 Only OTR staff may install software on computers in classrooms, the Testing Center, kiosks, and computer labs.

4.5.2 Only an authorized Middle Georgia State University server administrator may install software on a server.

4.5.3 Students and non-MGA personnel are prohibited from installing software on MGA computers without the direct supervision of OTR staff.

4.5.4 Software is installed and updated between semesters or during extended non-holiday breaks (like spring break) when classroom and network usage are lowest. This applies to classrooms, labs, kiosks, and servers. The CIO must approve any deviation from this schedule.

4.5.5 To accommodate unforeseen classroom changes each semester, OTR will re-image a classroom during the first two weeks of each semester. This does not apply to the installation of new software in a classroom. Such changes require a Dean or an Academic Affairs representative to send a request to the Director of Technology Support Services. After this two week period the CIO will need to approve re-imaging a classroom.

4.5.6 Classrooms, kiosks, computer labs and the Testing Center may be imaged during the semester to repair computers or install critical updates. OTR does not back-up personal or class related files on these computers. When reimaging occurs, such files are permanently lost.

4.5.7 Software used to administer tests will be installed in the Testing Center due to the additional security measures available there. Installation of testing software in other locations requires approval from a Dean and the CIO.

4.5.8 Faculty and staff may install 3rd party applications, plug-ins, freeware, or shareware on their personal MGA computer provided they understand and comply with the following:

  • The software needs to have an academic or business related use. • The software must be licensed to the user and proof of licensure can be provided.
  • Software must comply with the Appropriate Use Policy.
  • Software must not render MGA core software inoperable or interfere with the computer’s normal operation.
  • Software must not compromise the MGA network or computer security.
  • The faculty or staff member is responsible for maintenance, patches, updates, and security fixes. These should be applied whenever possible to ensure a safe and secure computing environment.
  • OTR will provide installation support as time or resources permit. A technical support request must be submitted.

4.6 Software Licensing

4.6.1 OTR will monitor all computers for software license compliance in accordance with federal copyright laws and MGA policy.

4.6.2 MGA is not responsible for monitoring privately owned computers and the software installed on them. Ensuring proper licensing of these resources is the sole responsibility of the owner. Users are always subject to Federal Copyright laws and should adhere to these laws.

4.6.3 Schools are strongly encouraged to periodically audit their computers for software and licensing compliance.

4.6.4 OTR will periodically audit MGA computers. Deans, department heads, and users will receive notification of possible software license violations so they may be rectified.

4.6.5 OTR will maintain a database of installed applications on all MGA computers and servers. Data may be requested by department heads for auditing purposes.

  • Data will be provided by OTR to requesting departments as time and resources allow.

4.6.6 Methods or software used to circumvent or block OTR license monitoring is prohibited.

4.6.7 OTR is responsible for maintaining and securing media and licenses for MGA core software.

4.6.8 Schools are responsible for maintaining and securing media and licenses for software installed on faculty computers, staff computers, classroom computers under the School’s authority, and computer labs. This excludes MGA core software.

4.6.9 OTR will maintain a centralized license repository for audit purposes.

4.6.10 A copy of all software licenses should be sent to OTR for record-keeping.

5.0 Enforcement

5.1 When OTR identifies software licenses that are out of compliance with this policy, users and their department head or Dean will be notified by email or phone.

5.1.1 Users will have one week to provide license documentation authorizing the use of the software.

5.1.2 If users fail to provide license documentation in the time allowed, then they must uninstall the software immediately or purchase a license to bring the software back into compliance.

5.1.3 Users who fail to uninstall illegal or unauthorized software as requested by OTR are subject to the full range of sanctions as outlined in section 6 of the Appropriate Use Policy.

5.2 OTR reserves the right to block or shutdown any application the poses an immediate threat to MGAs computing infrastructure or makes MGA core software inoperable.

5.2.1 The CIO has the authority to order any application terminated if it poses an immediate threat to security.

5.2.2 The software’s owner is responsible for removing or repairing the software if it is unapproved software.

5.3 Users, who continually install malicious software, whether intentionally or not, will have their administrative rights removed from their PC.

5.3.1 First offense – warning and education

5.3.2 Second offense removal of admin rights

5.3.3 Dean or department head must request admin rights on behalf of the employee. CIO will approve or deny.

6.0 Definitions

CIO: Chief Information Officer

Imaging (also called Ghosting): Briefly, is the process of distributing a copy of a computer’s software and settings to many other computers via the network. The end result is a classroom or lab of computers with exactly the same software and settings. This process saves considerable time when deploying software to the campus, but this process also requires significant preparation time to execute properly. This is the reason for software request deadlines.

Licensing: There are three basic license types:

  1. Workstation: requires the purchase of a license for each computer on which the software will be installed. Cost effective for a small number of computers or a classroom. Can be expensive and difficult to manage as the number of licenses needed increases.
  2. Site: a license that allows software installation on any computer located within a physical site or organization. This type of license is ideal for software that needs to be accessed throughout campus. In most cases, this license is purchased at the enterprise level because of high costs and support issues. The cost typically is assessed by using MGA’s FTE or the actual number of computers attached to a network or located on a site.
  3. Concurrent use: a license that allows software installation on many computers but limits simultaneous usage to a set number. License managing or metering software is required.

OTR: Office of Technology Resources. This office contains four sub-units, the Office of Enterprise Information Systems (EIS), the Office of Enterprise Systems Management (ESM), the Office of Network Administration (ONA), and the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS)

Web-based (Cloud) Applications: Software that requires users to access content through a web browser, like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome. These applications are hosted off-site, which means content and records are stored on servers physically located off-campus and owned by third-parties, or they are hosted on-site, which means MGA controls the content and stores the data.

These applications can be problematic because they often require specific browsers and plug-ins that may not be compatible with existing software. In addition, data ownership and data access brings forth FERPA and security concerns.

7.0 Revision History

09/03/2019 – Changed Computer and Network Usage policy to Appropriate Use Policy. Updated URL.

9/03/2019 – Updates various URLs

09/03/2019 – Changed SRS to USG Technology Store. Updated URL.

09/03/2019 – Changed Vice President for Academic Affairs to Provost

09/03/2019 – Changed ARC to computer labs.

09/03/2019 – Changed College to University. MGSC to MGA.

09/03/2019 – Update appendix A and B. Updated software titles and terminology.

09/03/2019 – Revision history (section 7.0) added to policy