This Acceptable Usage Policy covers the security and use of all University of Suffolk's information and IT facilities.


  • This policy applies to all University of Suffolk's students, staff, contractors and partners.


  • This policy applies to all information, in whatever form, relating to the University of Suffolk's business activities worldwide, and to all information handled by the University of Suffolk relating to other organisations with whom it partners.


  • The aim of this policy is to help ensure that the University’s IT facilities can be used safely, lawfully and equitably by all students and staff. 


  • Governance

Don’t break the law, do abide by University of Suffolk (the University) regulations and policies, and do observe the regulations of any third parties whose facilities you access.


  • Identity

Don’t allow anyone else to use your IT credentials, don’t disguise your online identity and don’t attempt to obtain or use anyone else’s.


  • Infrastructure

Don’t put the University’s IT facilities at risk by introducing malware, interfering with hardware or loading unauthorised software.


  • Information

Safeguard personal data, respect other people’s information and don’t abuse copyright material. Remember that mobile devices may not be a secure way to handle information.


  • Behaviour

Do not waste IT resources, interfere with others’ legitimate use or behave towards others in a way that would not be acceptable in the physical world.

These regulations apply to anyone using the IT facilities (hardware, software, data, network access, third party services, online services or IT credentials) provided or arranged by the University.

1.1. Users 

These regulations apply to anyone using University IT facilities. This means more than students and staff. It could include, for example: 

  • Visitors to University websites, and people accessing the University’s online services from off campus; 

  • External partners, contractor and agents based onsite and using the University network, or offsite and accessing the University’s systems; 

  • Tenants of the University using the University’s computers, servers or network; 

  • Visitors using Universitywifi; 

  • Students and staff from other Universities logging on using eduroam. 


1.2. IT Facilities 

The term IT facilities include: 

  • IT hardware that University provides, such as PCs, laptops, tablets, smart phones and printers; 

  • Software that the University provides, such as operating systems, office application software, web browsers etc. It also includes software that the University has arranged for you to have access to, for example, special deals for students on commercial application packages; 

  • Data that the University provides, or arranges access to. This might include online journals, data sets or citation databases; 

  • Access to the network provided or arranged by the University. This would cover, for example, on campus wifi, connectivity to the internet from University PCs. Network connection in Athena Hall is subject to separate regulations by the providing company: Fresh Student Living

  • Online services arranged by the University, such as Office 365 and Google Apps, JSTOR, or any of the Jisc online resources; 

  • IT credentials, such as the use of your University login, or any other token (email address, smartcard, dongle) issued by the University to identify yourself when using IT facilities. For example, you may be able to use drop in facilities or Wi-Fi connectivity at other Universities using your usual username and password through the eduroam system. While doing so, you are subject to these regulations, as well as the regulations at the University you are visiting. 

When using IT, you remain subject to the same laws and regulations as in the physical world. Don’t break the law, do abide by University of Suffolk (the University) regulations and policies, and do observe the regulations of any third parties whose facilities you access.


2.1. Governance summary

It is expected that your conduct is lawful. Furthermore, ignorance of the law is not considered to be an adequate defence for unlawful conduct.

When accessing services from another jurisdiction, you must abide by all relevant local laws, as well as those applicable to the location of the service.

You are bound by University general student regulations when using the IT facilities.

You must abide by the regulations applicable to any other organisation whose services you access such as Janet, Eduserv and Jisc Collections.

When using services via eduroam, you are subject to the regulations of the University and additionally JANET terms and conditions (including the Janet Acceptable Use, Security and eduroam(UK) policy), and the organisation where you are accessing services.

Some software licences procured by the University will set out obligations for the user – these should be adhered to. If you use any software or resources covered by a Chest agreement, you are deemed to have accepted the Eduserv User Acknowledgement of Third Party Rights. (See accompanying guidance for more detail.)

Breach of any applicable law or third party regulation will be regarded as a breach of these IT regulations. 


2.2. Domestic Law 

Your behaviour is subject to the laws of the land, even those that are not apparently related to IT such as the laws on fraud, theft and harassment. 

There are many items of legislation that are particularly relevant to the use of IT, including: 

So, for example, you may not:                                                                                                       

  • Create or transmit, or cause the transmission, of any offensive, obscene or indecent images, data or other material, or any data capable of being resolved into obscene or indecent images or material; 

  • Create or transmit material with the intent to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; 

  • Create or transmit material with the intent to defraud; 

  • Create or transmit defamatory material; 

  • Create or transmit material such that this infringes the copyright of another person or organisation; 

  • Create or transmit unsolicited bulk or marketing material to users of networked facilities or services, save where that material is embedded within, or is otherwise part of, a service to which the user or their user organisation has chosen to subscribe; 

  • Deliberately (and without authorisation) access networked facilities or services. 


2.3. Foreign Law 

If you are using services that are hosted in a different part of the world, you may also be subject to their laws. It can be difficult to know where any particular service is hosted from, and what the applicable laws are in that locality. 

In general, if you apply common sense, obey domestic laws and the regulations of the service you are using, you are unlikely to go astray, However it’s worth paying particular attention to IT related laws of the United States of America, which in particular have broad extraterritorial jurisdicition 


2.4. General University Regulations 

You should already be familiar with University general regulations and policies. 

General student regulations can be found here


2.5. Third Party Regulations 

If you use University IT facilities to access third party service or resources you are bound by the regulations associated with that service or resource. (The association can be through something as simple as using your University username and password). 

Very often, these regulations will be presented to you the first time you use the service, but in some cases the service is so pervasive that you will not even know that you are using it. 

examples of this would be: 

The requirements of these policies have been incorporated into these regulations, so if you abide by these regulations you should not infringe the Janet policies. 

  • Using Chest agreements 

  • Eduserv is an organisation that has negotiated many deals for software and online resources on behalf of the UK higher education community, under the common banner of Chest agreements. These agreements have certain restrictions, that may be summarised as: non-academic use is not permitted; copyright must be respected; privileges granted under Chest agreements must not be passed on to third parties; and users must accept the User Acknowledgement of Third Party Rights

There will be other instances where the University has provided you with a piece of software or a resource. The list below is not exhaustive and is provided as an example of some of the software end user licence agreements, that you should familiarise yourself with. 

These regulations are issued under the authority of the Director of IT who is also responsible for their interpretation and enforcement, and who may also delegate such authority to other directorates. 

If you have any doubt whether or not you have the authority to use an IT facility you should seek further advice from the IT Service Desk. 

Attempting to use the IT facilities without the permission of the relevant authority is an offence under the Computer Misuse Act. 


3.1. Permission granting methods

Authority to use the University’s IT facilities is granted by a variety of means: 

  • The issue of a username and password or other IT credentials 

  • The explicit granting of access rights to a specific system or resource 

  • The provision of a facility in an obviously open access setting, such as the University website; a self-service kiosk in a public area; or an open wifi network on the campus.


 3.2. Delegated Authority

Authority for certain aspects of IT use within the organisation has been delegated to the appropraite directorate. 

External Relations and Marketing has responsibility for:

  • Social media content
  • Bulk mailing and communication

Learning Services has responsibility for:

  • Copyright
  • the Virtual Learning Environment

The Ethics committee has responsibility for:

  • research material

IT facilities are intended for education, academic research and the furtherance of the University's mission. Use of these IT facilities for non-University commercial purposes, or for personal gain, requires the explicit approval of the Director of IT Services and the Director of External relations.

Use of certain licences is only permitted for academic use and where applicable to the code of conduct published by the Combined Higher Education Software Team (CHEST). See the accompanying guidance for further details. 


4.1. Use for Purposes in futherance of University's mission 

The IT facilities are provided for use in furtherance of the University’s mission. Such use might be for learning, teaching, research, knowledge transfer, public outreach, the commercial activities of the University, or the administration necessary to support all of the above. 


4.2. Personal Use 

You may currently use the IT facilities for personal use provided that it does not breach the regulations, and that it does not prevent or interfere with other people using the facilities for valid purposes (for example, using a PC to update your Facebook page when others are waiting to complete their assignments). 

However, this is a concession and can be withdrawn at any time. 

Employees using the IT facilities for non-work purposes during working hours are subject to the same management policies as for any other type of non-work activity. 


4.3. Commercial use and Personal Gain 

Use of IT facilities for non-University commercial purposes, or for personal gain, such as running a club or society, requires the explicit approval of the Director of IT. The provider of the service may require a fee or a share of the income for this type of use. For more information, contact the IT Helpdesk. 

Even with such approval, the use of licences under the Chest agreements for anything other than teaching, studying or research, administration or management purposes is prohibited, and you must ensure that licences allowing commercial use are in place. Please be aware that other similar contract or policy restrictions may exist that would impact the ability to use of IT facilities for commercial or personal gain. 

You must take all reasonable precautions to safeguard any IT credentials (for example, a username and password, email address, smart card or other identity hardware) issued to you. You must not allow anyone else to use your IT credentials. Nobody has the authority to ask you for your password (including IT Services) and you must not disclose it to anyone, except in circumstances where required to do so by a Law Enforcement agency (for example, a disclosure requirement under schedule 2 of RIPA). 

You must not attempt to obtain or use anyone else’s credentials. 

You must not impersonate someone else or otherwise disguise your identity when using the IT facilities. 

Many of the IT services provided or arranged by the University require you to identify yourself so that the service knows that you are entitled to use it. 

This is most commonly done by providing you with a username and password, but other forms of IT credentials may be used, such as an email address, a smart card or some other form of security device. 


5.1. Protect Identity 

You must take all reasonable precautions to safeguard any IT credentials issued to you. 

You should  change passwords when first issued and at regular intervals as instructed. Do not use obvious passwords, and do not record them where there is any likelihood of someone else finding them. Do not use the same password as you do for personal (i.e. non-University) accounts. Do not share passwords with anyone else, even IT staff, no matter how convenient and harmless it may seem. 

If you think someone else has found out what your password is, change it immediately and report the matter to IT Service Desk 

Do not use your username and password to log in to websites or services you do not recognise, and do not log in to websites that are not secure. 

Do not leave logged in computers unattended, use the screen lock facility even if you are only leaving your terminal for a short period, and log out properly when you are finished. 

Don’t allow anyone else to use your smartcard or other security hardware. Take care not to lose them, and if you do, change your password if you are able to do so and report the matter to IT immediately.


5.2. Impersonation 

Never use someone else’s IT credentials, or attempt to disguise or hide your real identity when using the University’s IT facilities. 

However, it is acceptable not to reveal your identity if the system or service clearly allows anonymous use (such as a public facing website). 


5.3. Attempt to Compromise Others' Identities 

You must not attempt to usurp, borrow, corrupt or destroy someone elses IT Credentials. 

You must not do anything to jeopardise the integrity of the IT infrastructure by, for example, doing any of the following without approval: 

  • Damaging, reconfiguring or moving equipment; 

  • Loading software on University equipment other than in approved circumstances; 

  • Reconfiguring or connecting equipment to the network other than by approved methods; 

  • Setting up servers or services on the network; 

  • Deliberately or recklessly introducing malware; 

  • Attempting to disrupt or circumvent IT security measures. 

The IT infrastructure is all the underlying stuff that makes IT function. It includes servers, the network, PCs, printers, operating systems, databases and a whole host of other hardware and software that has to be set up correctly to ensure the reliable, efficient and secure delivery of IT services. 

You must not do anything to jeopardise the infrastructure. 


6.1. Physical Damage or Risk of Damage 

Do not damage, or do anything to risk physically damaging the infrastructure, this includes being careless with food and drink. 


6.2. Reconfiguration 

Do not attempt to change the setup of the infrastructure without authorisation, such as changing the network point that a PC is plugged in to, connecting devices to the network (with the exception of connecting mobile devices to Eduroam, or SuffolkUni) or altering the configuration of the University’s PCs. Unless you have been authorised, you must not add software to or remove software from PCs. 

Do not move equipment without IT Services authorisation. 


6.3. Network Extension 

You must not extend the wired or Wifi network without authorisation. Such activities, which may involve the use of routers, repeaters, hubs or Wifi access points, can disrupt the network and are likely to be in breach of the Janet Security Policy 


6.4. Setting up Servers 

You must not set up any hardware or software that would provide a service to others over the network without permission. Examples would include games servers, file sharing services, IRC servers or websites. 


6.5. Introducing Malware 

You must take all reasonable steps to avoid introducing malware to the infrastructure. 

The term malware covers many things such as viruses, worms and trojans, but is basically any software used to disrupt computer operation or subvert security. It is usually spread by visiting websites of a dubious nature, downloading files from untrusted sources, opening email attachments from people you do not know or inserting media that have been created on compromised computers. 

To ensure ease of identification of external emails we have marked all incoming Emails with the below header as requested by the executive team.

"This email originated outside of the University of Suffolk. Unless you recognise the sender, and know the content is safe, do not click any links or open attachments.”

If you avoid these types of behaviour, keep your antivirus software up to date and switched on, and run scans of your computer on a regular basis, you should not fall foul of this problem. 


6.6. Subverting Security Measures 

The University has taken measures to safeguard the security of its IT infrastructure, including things such as antivirus software, firewalls, spam filters and so on. 

You must not attempt to subvert or circumvent these measures in any way. 

If you handle personal, confidential or sensitive information, you must take all reasonable steps to safeguard it and must observe the University Data Protection policy and Information Security policies and guidance, available at ITS.UOS.AC.UK, particularly with regard to removable media, mobile and privately owned devices. 

You must not infringe copyright, or break the terms of licences for software or other material. 

You must not attempt to access, delete, modify or disclose information belonging to other people without their permission, or explicit approval from the Director of IT. 

You must not create, download, store or transmit unlawful material, or material that is indecent, offensive, threatening or discriminatory. The University has procedures to approve and manage valid activities involving such material; guides are available via Learning Services, and must be observed. 


7.1. Personal, Sensitive and Confidential Information 

During the course of their work or studies, staff and students (particularly research students) may handle information that comes under the Data Protection Act 1998, or is sensitive or confidential in some other way. For the rest of this section, these will be grouped together as protected information. 

Safeguarding the security of protected information is a highly complex issue, with organisational, technical and human aspects. The University has policies on Data Protection and Information Management My.Suffolk Data Protection Act (policy), and if your role is likely to involve handling protected information, you must make yourself familiar with and abide by these policies. 

Additional guidance on the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and how the University ensures compliance with it is available via the My.Suffolk Data Protection Act (policy) 


7.1.1. Transmission of Protected Information 

When sending protected information electronically, you must use a method with appropriate security. You should seek advice from the Director of IT Services, if you have a requirement to transmit information that needs to be protected.  


7.1.2. Removable Media and Mobile Devices 

Protected information must not be stored on removable media (such as USB storage devices, removable hard drives, CDs, DVDs) or mobile devices (laptops, tablet or smart phones) unless it is encrypted, and the key kept securely. 

If protected information is sent using removable media, you must use a secure, tracked service so that you know it has arrived safely.  


7.1.3 Remote Working 

If you access protected information from off campus, you must make sure you are using an approved connection method that ensures that the information cannot be intercepted between the device you are using and the source of the secure service. 

You must also be careful to avoid working in public locations where your screen can be seen. 


7.1.4 Personal or Public Devices and Cloud Services 

Even if you are using approved connection methods, devices that are not fully managed by the University cannot be guaranteed to be free of malicious software that could, for example, gather keyboard input and screen displays. You should not therefore use such devices to access, transmit or store protected information. 

Advice on the use of personal devices to access University services is available at (mobile device use)

Do not store protected information in personal cloud services, such as Dropbox, unless securely encrypted first. 


7.1.5. Copyright Information 

Almost all published works are protected by copyright. If you are going to use material (images, text, music, software), the onus is on you to ensure that you use it within copyright law. This is a complex area, and training and guidance are available via Learning Services: copyright guidance page. The key point to remember is that the fact that you can see something on the web, download it or otherwise access it does not mean that you can do what you want with it. 


7.1.6. Others' Information 

You must not attempt to access, delete, modify or disclose restricted information belonging to other people without their permission, unless it is obvious that they intend others to do this, or you have approval from the data protection officer. 

Where information has been produced in the course of employment by the University, and the person who created or manages it is unavailable, the responsible line manager may give permission for it to be retrieved for work purposes. In doing so, care must be taken not to retrieve any private information in the account, nor to compromise the security of the account concerned. 

Private information may only be accessed by someone other than the owner under very specific circumstances governed by University and/or legal processes.  


7.1.7. Inappropriate Material 

You must not create, download, store or transmit unlawful material, or material that is indecent, offensive, defamatory, threatening or discriminatory. 

The University has procedures to approve and manage valid activities involving such material for valid research purposes where legal with the appropriate ethical approval. For more information, please refer to University research ethics guidelines

Universities UK has produced guidance on handling sensitive research materials, available at the link below. 

There is an exemption covering authorised IT staff involved in the preservation of evidence for the purposes of investigating breaches of the regulations or the law. 


7.1.8. Publishing Information 

Publishing means the act of making information available to the general public, this includes through websites, social networks and news feeds. Whilst the University generally encourages publication, there are some general guidelines you should adhere to: 

7.1.9. Representing the University 

You must not make statements that purport to represent the University without the approval of the Head of Marketing. 

7.1.10. Publishing for Others 

You must not publish information on behalf of third parties using the University’s IT facilities without the approval of the Head of Marketing.

Real world standards of behaviour apply online and on social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Blogger and Twitter. 

  • You must not cause needless offence, concern or annoyance to others. 

  • You should also adhere to University guidelines on social media. 

  • You must not send spam (unsolicited bulk email). 

  • You must not deliberately or recklessly consume excessive IT resources such as processing power, bandwidth or consumables. 

  • You must not use the IT facilities in a way that interferes with others’ valid use of them. 

The way you behave when using IT should be no different to how you would behave under other circumstances. Abusive, inconsiderate or discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable. 


8.1. Conduct Online and on Social Media 

University policies concerning staff and students also apply to the use of social media. These include human resource policies, codes of conduct, acceptable use of IT and disciplinary procedures

University guide to use of social media guidance: Social Media guide 


8.2. Spam 

You must not send unsolicited bulk emails or chain emails other than in specific circumstances. Advice is available via IT Services, approval may be required from the Head of Marketing. 


8.3. Denying Others Access 

If you are using shared IT facilities for personal or social purposes, you should vacate them if they are needed by others with work to do. Similarly, do not occupy specialist facilities unnecessarily if someone else needs them. 


8.4. Disturbing Others 

When using shared spaces, remember that others have a right work without undue disturbance. Keep noise down (turn phones to silent if you are in a silent study area), do not obstruct passageways and be sensitive to what others around you might find offensive. 


8.5. Excessive Consumption of Bandwith/Resources 

Use resources wisely. Don’t consume excessive bandwidth by uploading or downloading more material (particularly video) than is necessary. Do not waste paper by printing more than is needed, or by printing single sided when double sided would do. Don’t waste electricity by leaving equipment needlessly switched on. 

It is the responsibility of the University to monitor the use of IT Facilities across the campus to fullfil its duty of care to all users and to comply with lawful requests for information from law enforcement or government agencies. 


9.1. Monitoring the Use of IT Facilities 

The University monitors and logs the use of its IT facilities for the purposes of: 

  • Detecting, investigating or preventing misuse of the facilities or breaches of the University’s regulations; 

  • Prevention and detection of crime 

  • Monitoring the effective function of the facilities; 

  • Investigation of alleged misconduct; 

  • Dealing with email and other communications during an employee’s absence. 

The University will comply with lawful requests for information from law enforcement and government agencies for the purposes of detecting, investigating or preventing crime, and ensuring national security. 


9.1.1. Unauthorised Monitoring 

You must not attempt to monitor the use of the IT without the explicit permission of the Director of IT. 

This would include: 

  • Monitoring of network traffic; 

  • Network and/or device discovery; 

  • Wi-Fi traffic capture; 

  • Installation of key logging or screen grabbing software that may affect users other than yourself; 

  • Attempting to access system logs or servers or network equipment. 

Where IT is itself the subject of study or research, special arrangements will have been made, and you should contact your course leader/research supervisor for more information. 



Infringing these regulations may result in sanctions under the university’s disciplinary processes. Penalties may include withdrawal of IT service access. Offending material will be taken down. The University reserves the right to recover from you any costs incurred as a result of your infringement. 

Information about infringement may be passed to appropriate law enforcement agencies, and any other organisations whose regulations you have breached. 

You must inform the IT Service Desk if you become aware of any infringement of these regulations. Guidance notes 

This guidance expands on the principles set out in the core regulations. It gives many examples of specific situations and is intended to help you relate your everyday use of the IT facilities to the do’s and don’ts in the core regulations. 

Where a list of examples is given, these are just some of the most common instances at the time of publishing, and the list is not intended to be exhaustive. 

Where the terms similar to Authority, Authorised, Approved or Approval appear, they refer to authority or approval originating from the person or body identified in section 3, Authority, or anyone with authority delegated to them by that person or body. 


10.1. Disciplinary Process and Sanctions 

Breaches of these regulations will be handled by the University’s disciplinary process

This could have a bearing on your future studies or employment with the University and beyond. 

Sanctions may be imposed if the disciplinary process finds that you have indeed breached the regulations, for example, imposition of restrictions on your use of IT facilities; removal of services; withdrawal of offending material; fines and recovery of any costs incurred by the University as a result of the breach. 


10.2. Reporting to Other Authorities 

If the University believes that unlawful activity has taken place, it will refer the matter to the police or other enforcement agency. 


10.3. Reporting to Other Organisations 

If the University believes that a breach of a third party’s regulations has taken place, it may report the matter to that organisation. 


10.4. Report Infringements 

If you become aware of an infringement of these regulations, you must report the matter to the relevant authorities.