Computer use policy

Maintenance and support of all computers owned by the School of Dentistry is the sole responsibility of the school's Office of Information Technology. School of Dentistry IT staff perform remedial and preventative maintenance on personal computers housed in the Wood, Lyons, and Perkinson buildings. Dentistry IT employs full-time IT professionals who respond to service requests. The Dentistry IT Office provides "cradle to grave" technical support including purchasing new hardware and software, software patching and updates, problem resolution, and obsolete equipment disposal.


All purchases of computers hardware, software, or services must be placed by the School of Dentistry IT office. Initiate purchases for all computer equipment and software through the School of Dentistry Work Order System. Purchase orders are routed to the approver for the budget code listed in the order. After budgetary approval, School of Dentistry IT verifies the request for adherence to the school's current computing standards and places the order. New computers will be set up on a first-come, first-serve basis. This will normally occur several days after the new equipment is delivered.

Supported platforms

The School of Dentistry IT office restricts the hardware and software environment used within the school to maximize support effectiveness and to adhere to information security standards. This enables a greater level of service than would be possible supporting a wide variety of devices. Supported platforms are:

  • Dell computers running Windows 7 or greater
  • Apple iPads

Requesting service

The School of Dentistry Work Order System must be used for all service requests. Each work order alerts several School of Dentistry IT technicians and allows for problem tracking. Requesting support outside the Work Order System will result in service delays since all work requests must be recorded in the Work Order System. Please do not attempt to skip ahead of other requests by contacting an IT staff member directly for special consideration. This is not fair to others who are waiting for service.

Requests for service are triaged in the following methodology:

  1. Wide-spread system outages
  2. Critical equipment affecting patient care with no alternative available
  3. Other clinical system problems that affect patient care
  4. Non-clinical system problems
  5. New installations

Please allow 48 hours for non-clinical system problems. After being triaged, work orders are answered on a first-come, first-serve basis.


With the growing number of software packages available today School of Dentistry IT cannot offer support on every product on the market. The following software titles are standards within the School of Dentistry and are fully supported. The School of Dentistry IT office will install, troubleshoot, and patch as needed all fully supported software. This list is subject to change as the school adds more software to the supported portfolio.

  • All Microsoft products except Outlook
  • VCU standard email client
  • Internet Explorer and Chrome browsers
  • axiUm, MiPACS and associated components
  • All Adobe products
  • Dell-installed CD/DVD software

Requests for software outside the fully supported list will be evaluated case by case. Faculty members should submit a computer work order with a justification for the requested software. The School of Dentistry IT office will evaluate the request and determine the level of support that can be provided.

Note: You must purchase a license for each software package installed on each machine. Unauthorized duplication of software is a violation of federal copyright law. Software must be purchased through the School of Dentistry Work Order System with consultation by the School of Dentistry IT office as described in the purchasing section above.

Computer account privileges

The proliferation of computer security threats necessitates that all computer accounts employ the principle of least privilege – that is, all processing should be performed with the least set of privileges required. Standard Windows user rights (i.e. non-administrator) are sufficient for all normal activities performed on a personal computer except for changes to the system configuration or the installation of software. Such changes should be kept to a minimum to ensure the proper functioning of the computer and to prevent inadvertent infection by malicious software such as viruses and other malware. The School of Dentistry IT office creates all new computer user accounts as standard Windows users. All personnel except for system administrators log in using standard user accounts in accordance with established VCU and state policy, security guidelines, and best practice recommendations.

Full-time faculty may request an exception to this policy and be granted access to an administrator account.Exception requests will be reviewed by the director of the School of Dentistry IT office and forwarded to the dean of the School of Dentistry. All requests should be submitted using an Administrator Account Exception Request Form and should include the specific reason for administrator privileges. Any faculty member who receives an administrator computer account should be aware of the following:

  • Administrator account users must be prepared to assume additional responsibilities in the use of that computer including periodic patch installation, software updates, and special care to avoid of security threats such as viruses and other malware.
  • Any administrator accounts issued are to be used only for making changes to the computer. All other processing should be performed using a standard user account. Administrator accounts will not have access to VCU network resources except for Internet access.
  • Exceptions will be reviewed periodically and personnel who repeatedly require additional technical assistance due to the use of administrator accounts will transferred to a standard user account.

Remote support

Whenever possible, School of Dentistry IT staff will perform software service via remote support software. Since remote support (and support rendered at the computer) may give School of Dentistry IT staff access to privileged or confidential files, abuse of these access rights is grounds for disciplinary action under the VCU Employee Work Profile Confidentiality and Compliance Statement.


Training will prevent many PC-related problems before they occur. Dentistry personnel are also encouraged to receive training in each specific software application (Word, Excel, etc.) he/she plans to use within 60 days of employment or installation of new software. VCU offers free instructor-led or self-paced training courses. Visit the VCU Technology Services website for a list of available courses.

All new hires must pass HIPAA and OSHA exams as determined by the Office of the Executive Associate Dean before new accounts are set up.


Each person using a PC is responsible for protecting critical, job-related electronic files. Files stored on School of Dentistry network drives are automatically backed up daily. The School of Dentistry IT office recommends that any critical files be stored on a network drive. Each department has a network drive for shared department files. Other network drives exist for other purposes. Any faculty or staff member may request a network drive for files that should not be shared with other personnel.


Network cabling is installed by VCU Network Services. Anyone requiring network cabling should submit a computer work order for installation or relocation of equipment.


Information security

Dentistry computer policies are in compliance with VCU and state technology policies listed below.

In some cases, School of Dentistry policies are more restrictive than VCU and state policies due to federal HIPAA regulations for processing protected health information. School of Dentistry policies governing HIPAA are listed in the policies and documents section of the student and faculty intranet under the section titled Health, Safety and HIPAA.