Frequently Asked Questions

Who determined what the security settings are and how they are applied?
The security settings were developed in recognition of the increasing need to protect the university's critical research, intellectual and computing resources. The University of Saskatchewan's IT Security Policy identifies the principles and procedures for responsible use of IT infrastructure that is reflected in the security settings.

What is the university doing to protect against cyber threats?
The university's approach takes into consideration four primary aspects - safe device management, network security, safe file storage and it security education. Learn more about each of the areas in the IT security overview section.

Why are these security updates being applied? 
Universities are increasingly becoming the target of cybercrime. Due to the decentralized nature of our computing environment its critical that a standard is established that protects the information of members of the university community.

How will these changes impact me? 
For Windows users, the changes will have a minimal impact. Depending on your device configuration, users may be contacted to complete a restart of their device, but for most these settings will be applied automatically. Once the updates are complete, users will notice their computer screen will lock after 15 minutes of inactivity, the computer will no longer highlight the last user to log on and Control, Alt Delete key combinations will be required at the login screen. The settings will also no longer permit the use of administrator access on devices. 

What if I need administrative access?
Users who require administrative access to complete specific job functions will be provided access once they complete the acknowledgement of risk form. For more information about the form please contact IT Support Services at 306-966-2222.

Why is an administrative access a risk?
When users have administrator access on their devices malware and exploits can more easily elevate their own privileges allowing attacks that otherwise would have failed to infect the device or compromise the entire system and any data on it. Using a secondary account greatly reduces the risk of this happening.

Why am I being asked to provide the expected use when I request an administrator account?
The expected use is helpful information that allows ICT to identify common use cases for administrator accounts. This information is beneficial when designing future solutions that can be offered from across the university. The information is also collected and provided to the deans so they have a record of the purpose of granting an administrator account to members of their college.

Why is a screen lock required on my computer?
The university is an open environment where students, staff, and guests have open access to broad areas of campus. A consequence of this openness is that we are occasionally the victims of illicit access or theft. When a device is stolen or accessed when unlocked, the thief gains access to a wide variety of both personal and university resources, including files, email, student information, and any saved passwords or browser sessions. The screen lock is an efficient way to ensure information will not be left exposed on unattended devices.

Why does my Dean or department leader need to know if I have administrative access to my computer?
Part of the acknowledgement of risk process is to inform Deans and department heads of all members of their unit who have administrative access to their devices. 

Are the security settings the same for Mac and Linux machines?
The security settings will enhance current security applications within each operating system, however, the specific experience may differ depending on what kind of device you are operating and its current configuration. 

Are the settings the same if I bring my own computer to work? 
Personal computers will only have access to public university services. 

Can I still install software on my computer?
All university approved software is available to download directly from the Software Centre located on every device. If the software is unavailable, please contact IT Support Services to have it added to the Software Centre or installed on your device.

Who is impacted by these changes?
The settings will be applied to all university computers and will impact all university employees.

Will I still be able to share files and do things the same way as I always did?
It will depend on how you currently have your device configured and some of the methods you used to access and share information. In most instances, a solution will be provided to complete the tasks you are currently doing within the new security settings. Sharing files is important to research success. However, some file sharing is riskier than others. ICT will ensure researchers will be able to continue to share files and collaborate effectively.