Computer administrative privileges removed


Kali Anditon

Instructional, Communication & Information Technology employees work at the Help Desk the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 20.

Kali Anditon, Assistant Business & Technology Editor

With classes moving online for the remainder of the semester, everyone is making sure their computers are up for the task of virtual learning. We avoid clicking unknown links and downloading malware into our systems. The Instructional, Communication & Information Technology Department (ICIT) is also taking some steps to ensure that safety, which includes removing administrative privileges for most employees’ campus computers. 

The department recently shared news about the removal of all administrative privileges, such as the ability to download new software onto employee computers. Plainly put, employees will now have to get permission to download new software. 

At first glance, people may be upset about the removal of privileges, but with explanation by ICIT specialists, there may not be much to worry about. 

“For the individual experience, nothing is changing,” said assistant Vice Chancellor of ICIT Elena Pokot. “Most people don’t have a need to download software onto their computers because our campus computers come with all the software they need to complete their tasks. In our experience, 85 percent of individuals do not need privileges.”

Because the majority of campus computers have the needed software readily available, downloading additional software is generally unnecessary. The removal process is to prevent accidental malware from being introduced into the university’s virtual system. For the individuals who may require the downloading of software, they must complete a request through ICIT, which will establish its credibility.

“They said most of this should be done through tech liaisons or the deans,” said associate professor Wade Tillet, who had questions about the removal of privileges. “I feel like they won’t be too excited to get all of these requests asking to install Zoom.” 

The removal of privileges is a security tactic that ICIT had initially taken on last January when she removed her own administrative privileges, according to Pokot. When she managed to survive without privileges, the work began to disable them and prepare documentation for permissions.

“There’s certainly a little bit of extra work,” said ICIT operations manager Mary Acuna. “But it would be a lot more work if there was a significant breach and the consequences would be much greater. It’s a little bit more work, but it’s a good insurance policy.”

In the case of protecting an entire university, the extra work is worth it to avoid the alternative.

“Our philosophy in ICIT is to do as much prep work as possible,” Pokot said. “I think of it as an investment for the future and protects the entire campus from having a bigger problem.”