Desktop Computing Information for Faculty and Staff

As with other aspects of computing support, SAS faculty and staff  receive their primary support for desktop computing (desktops. laptops, and other mobile devices) from their SAS Computing Local Support Provider (LSP).  However, SAS Computing staff members from the Desktop Computing and Network Services workgroup administer a number a number of programs and manage a number of systems relevant to desktop computing support initiatives across the School, as well as set standards for supported hardware and operating systems.   

Hardware Purchasing  

The SAS desktop computer allocation program provides computers to eligible faculty and staff.  Please check with your LSP for more information about this program.  If you wish to purchase a computer with departmental, research, or grant funds, please first consult our recommendations and policies regarding purchasing desktop computers, and find out which hardware and operating systems we support.  When purchasing a computer, you may be able to coordinate with your LSP in order to have DCS/NS staff order, receive and apply our standard image to the equipment.   Computers can also be purchased at the Computer Connection.

Some of the computers replaced as part of the SAS desktop computer allocation program are refurbished and made available for a nominal cost to SAS departments, so that SAS employees who are not eligible for a machine as part of the allocaitons program (e.g. workstudy students) can have a computer which can be supported by SAS Computing staff.  

 

Supported Operating Systems and Software 

 In most cases, SAS Computing recommends and supports the University standard operating systems and applications.  However, we also make School-specific information available regarding some topics related to desktop computing standards, such as that regarding SAS Supported Desktop Platforms.  Many of the University site-licensed or freee supported packaged for network connectivity and security are available for downlaod at the site linked to above.

 

Software applications can also be purchased via Penn's  Office of Software Licensing or at the Computer Connection

Desktop Security Recommendations and AntiVirus Software

The only way to protect yourself from the numerous destructive computer viruses that are continually circulating, with new ones released all the time, is to make sure your system has current antivirus software and up to date virus definitions installed.  SAS Computing supports and recommends the use to desktop mamagement software tools for antivirus and operating system and application patching for Windows computers.  Please see the information below and check with your Local Support Provider (LSP) for more information.

 

Data Storage, Backup, Recovery and File Sharing

As part of the SAS Data Backup System for Faculty and Staff, the Desktop Computing and Network Services workgroup manages a number of servers to allow SAS faculty and staff to store their critical administrative and academic data on network-based file servers.  These  servers are backed up to tape on a nightly basis and provide other forms of redundancy to reduce the risk of loss due to accidental deletion or system failure.  These same systems can be used for secure storage of documens and data to be shared within and betwen departments or other groups of faculty and staff.  Please check with your Local Support Provider (LSP) for more information.

Special Security Considerations for Laptop Computers

Theft of laptop computer on campus, or theft or loss off campus, are unfortunate realities which require special steps both to the reduce the risk of financial loss and to protect the data that may be stored on a laptop compouter.  SAS Computing recommends that all SAs faculty and styaff who use a lptop computer take the following steps to minimize these risks:

  • Physically secure your laptop with a lock, even when in use so that if you step away for a few minutes, your laptop will be safer than if it is unlocked
  • If you will not be near your laptop for any significant length of time, store it out of view and in a locked drawer or file cabinet, even if it is in a locked office.
  • Use laptop security software such as Computrace from Absolute Software - which is supported by SAS Computing - as it can help increase chances of recovery of a stolen laptop and/or wipe the data off of it. Check with your LSP for more information.
  • Minimize the storage of sensitive information on laptops as much as possible and use data encryption software to protect the data which is stored on the laptop
  • In the event of any theft or loss of a laptop, notify the Penn Police, your building administrator, and your LSP.