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School ICT Policies Thread, EMail and Staff Storage Policy in School Administration; My apologies if this is repeating a previous thread or indeed if this is in the wrong forum. Basically I ...
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    AngryITGuy's Avatar
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    EMail and Staff Storage Policy

    My apologies if this is repeating a previous thread or indeed if this is in the wrong forum.

    Basically I plan on tightening the relaxed rules my predecessor setup as after scanning the staff server for data it has been made apparent that staff are taking the PS.

    Scanning through profiles and home directories I found one user who was taking up 40GB of data on the server 24GB was in the home directory and the remaining 16GB was in the profile WTF

    Others on the network are no better there are MP3's movies on the network all being downloaded by LimeWire. I am planning on introducing quotas on the home directories but wanted to know if any of you do this and what limits you set.

    I have also been asked by the SMT to block access to any third party webmail as staff should only use the school provided exchange.

    The SMT also want the emails monitored as many staff are sending emails during lessons and the SMT want to put a stop to this.

    I know exchange has the message tracking function has anyone used this feature? I know it tells you the sender, recipient and subject of the email but I was more concerned about any legal implications this may have.

    Any thoughts and comments would be greatly appreciated.

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    ranj's Avatar
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    I am in a similar situation to you. I have a few staff who are reaching levels of 16Gb. I appreciate that with the demands of curriculum new ways of teaching with video and audio demand gigabytes of files but to have so many. The question to ask is are they being used and the answer is probably hardly likely.

    Why don't you ask your SMT team to allow you to have full access to everyones mailboxes and this will allow you to view any suspicious staff email accounts and to investigate further....

    The messenging tracker would allow you to see what emails went out per day on your email server, so that is another way of investigating all emails going out and you'll be able to identify external emails going out just by looking at the email addresses.

    I myself would like to send an email out to staff at my own school with big areas. I have had a look at a few and some of them do have files that are NOT school related but unsure how to phrase the email. If anyone can offer any suggestions that would be greatly appreciated.

    I just want to make the point that disk space is at a premium, and everyone needs to be responsible with regards to disk space. If anyone has sent out an email to their own staff, Please offer any suggestions. That would be greatly appreciated...

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    I think there are several separate matters here.

    if staff have home directories with even just a few illegal music, video files etc then you are right to clamp down on this - an email on the lines of "please note that you must not use the school network to store music and video which is not the legal property of the school. Music "ripped" from CDs is not legally owned and should not be on the network and will be removed."

    If staff have large files because they are creating lots of worksheets with images in them then you need to consider whether you can provide more storage or offer training on how to make file sizes smaller (we had a situation where a group of staff were making documents with the college logo in them; they'd somehow got this as a massive bitmap and each 1 page Word file was 10Mb. Showing them how to link an image got the file sizes down to something much more sensible)

    It might be that you need to add more storage to the network - 750Gb SATA drives are £50 so it's easy to add more space for things like worksheets which are perhaps needed once a year.

    You've then got the issue of potential abuse of email. You must not start generating reports of who sends email to whom just to see if anyone is mis-using the system - you run a serious risk of laywers tearing you to pieces if you do this (even if told to do so by your manager). What I think you can do is respond to a manager who says "person X does not appear to be doing their job properly. They claim that they only send 1-2 emails per day. Is this true?"

    Webmail is another issue. If the school has a policy that staff must not use the internet for personal purposes then I'd guess it's OK to block access to webmail (but a policy like that is pretty unreasonable)

    Ultimately, the staff are paid to do a job. If they're not doing their job properly (whether it's because they're surfing the web all day or sitting reading the paper) their managers should be chasing them up to make sure they do the job

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    Jay
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    I don't have the full list on this machine to hand but I've got a list of items from our legal team (Norfolk CC) that I needed to cover for our email system. You have to start thinking about data retention policy, for example data protection laws require you to store 6 months worth of message logs* (who sent what and when). You should also have a written policy regarding placing a hold on an email account or freezing messages when requested by the courts. Exchange 2007 has some of this functionality built in I know and a lot of it is just manual stuff but pretty important still.

    J

    *Not the message contents, thats not covered (yet).

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Off topic but why are they allowed to use limewire in school?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-Greatermanchester View Post
    Off topic but why are they allowed to use limewire in school?
    Actually, I don't think it is off topic - this is the sort of thing that you should look at because, essentially, what you're looking at is all part of an acceptable use policy - is it acceptable, for example, to store 40Gb of stuff on the network completely depends on what that 40Gb contains. I can think of very few legal uses of limewire for the majority of staff so I wouldn't allow access to it.

    On the other hand, using webmail generally wouldn't be seen as unacceptable and I'm not sure that you can justify a global ban.

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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    On the other hand, using webmail generally wouldn't be seen as unacceptable and I'm not sure that you can justify a global ban.
    At the risk of all-out war, that's surely up to the school? It's their network and internet connection, and their choice as to what is accessed. Just because the staff have had it easy for a while doesn't mean it can't be changed.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    On the other hand, using webmail generally wouldn't be seen as unacceptable and I'm not sure that you can justify a global ban.
    The only way you could do it is if you provided an inhouse system (Exchange/Zimbra/etc) and require everyone to use it. Data Protection is an obvious reason to require staff to use the in house system. Monitoring for Cyber Bullying is an obvious reason to require pupils to use the in house system. I'm sure you could think of more reasons.

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    To be honest, what the network is used for is completely up to the school and its AUP. If it states that there is to be no use of webmail (as ours does)then it should not be used. So long as all staff and pupils are provided with inhouse access to email there is no need to access hotmail etc. As for storage, as someone has already pointed out, it depends on what the users are storing, if it is illegal content, it just gets deleted(you can inform the users so they can remove it themselves if your feeling nice) If it is work related then it probably a training issue.

    It sounds like you need to update your AUP to tighten up your security and update staff use of your network. If you could get this done before the summer it would give you the summer to implement any changes that you make.
    Last edited by pallen; 1st July 2008 at 09:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    The only way you could do it is if you provided an inhouse system (Exchange/Zimbra/etc) and require everyone to use it. Data Protection is an obvious reason to require staff to use the in house system. Monitoring for Cyber Bullying is an obvious reason to require pupils to use the in house system. I'm sure you could think of more reasons.
    It's often seen as reasonable that employees can make personal use of work facilities (such as the internet access) provided that their use does not adversely affect other people (so personal web mail before or after work is fine; downloading huge files of any kind at peak time is not fine)

    Once this has been in place for a reasonable period of time, I think that it becomes part of the "benefits package" and just taking it away would be frowned on by the courts if someone decided to challenge it (unless, of course, it was agreed to by all members of staff who would be affected)

    If, on the other hand, an employer says "you can use your work email for personal purposes" then it may be reasonable to ban access to webmail systems but I still think that it's unnecessary. Of themselves, they needn't cause a problem; it's abusing them that is a problem and that's a whole different issue.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    for my tuppence worth, I quite often found that yes, teachers would prefer to use the inhouse exchange system - but we quite often had trainees/students in, and they would require webmail to contact tutors etc.

    Of course, with a tiered web filter you can adjust it per AD group.

    ...however limewire (or any P2P for that matter) is fairly shocking if its being allowed.

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Limewire on a school network is frankly dangerous.

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    On the storage front, maybe set up central areas for each department to have shared video/music/images, then it can be more tightly controlled.

    You could also then restrict filetypes that can be stored in users home directories, so that media files must be stored in a central location. could cut down on replictaion too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    Once this has been in place for a reasonable period of time, I think that it becomes part of the "benefits package" and just taking it away would be frowned on by the courts if someone decided to challenge it (unless, of course, it was agreed to by all members of staff who would be affected)
    So if I understand you correctly, an employer bares all the cost and liabilities of employee use of a company's email system but cannot specify how it is used?

    Are employers now required to provide personal email and web access to employees?

    Is it a case of if you don't take steps to mark out the boundaries of your back garden then a right of way can be established merely by custom?

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    AngryITGuy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the numerous and helpful posts people.

    Perhaps some background info would help shed more light on my situation. I have not been at my current position long, network manager before me left before he was sacked.

    As far as I can tell there was no staff AUP, well not one staff have to sign. I have just finished putting one together.

    The policy is pretty basic in its structure and is similar to many posted on here. It tells staff that all internet and email traffic will be monitored and that the userís history will only be looked through in detail should the school/SMT receive a complaint about a member of staff from a student/visitor/other member of staff. Just to cover my back it even goes on to say that when the report regarding the use history is created a member of the SMT has to be present and the generation of the report has to be documented. I have tried to make it as transparent as I can to show staff I have no intention of checking up on them just for the sake of it as I have more important things to do with my time.

    Sent it out to staff for comments and most have come back and said they will refuse to sign it and they have threatened to go to the union regarding the changes being introduced.

    Staff here pretty much run the show, they install what they want, store what they want and surf the internet when they want looking at what they want. We have recently had BLOXX installed which will filter and monitor staff internet access from September, this was not received well by staff.

    Staff have a home directory, a department directory for documents and a department directory for media resources yet most people just save everything to either their home directory or desktop. This is problem is down to staff training and I hope to get this resolved with some training sessions to staff.

    For those of you who asked LimeWire was already running before I started and breaking the habit has been difficult, although BLOXX should put an end to that. Webmail has been blocked as staff have access to our internal exchange server. The network since I have been here has been taken down twice by a virus once during OFSTED, both were "inadvertently" downloaded from webmail by staff.

    I am currently the bad guy at school as I dare to tell staff what they can and can't do and I dare to introduce change.

    Staff have pretty much stopped talking to me since I told them their internet access will be monitored, but I don't care the place needs policies putting in place and the staff need to be reigned in.

    Staff have even gone to the extreme of not using the exchange server as there is a rumor doing the rounds that I have been instructed by the SMT to read all emails sent by all staff.

    I guess itís true what they say about POWER IN NUMBERS and all that I am not sure what the SMT will be forced to do if all staff refuse to use the internal exchange and refuse to sign the new AUP.

    Sorry about the RANT but its late and it's not long before I have to be up again to go and face the mob.

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