Computing Service – Registration and authentication

The Computing Service allocates a computing account to each registered user and maintains a user database.
Each computing account consists primarily of a login name and a password. In addition, the user database
contains other information, including full name, department, course, and housekeeping information. All
registered students and staff are eligible to hold computing accounts, and there are certain additional categories
of eligibility. The criteria are published on the web.
All accounts for students are created automatically from information provided nightly from MIS student
Accounts for staff are created on request to the Computing Service.
Passwords are assigned to all computing accounts when they are created, which must be changed within four
weeks of issue. Subsequent passwords must be changed every four months.
When an account-holder leaves the University, the computing account is automatically deactivated, normally
two weeks after ceasing to be registered with the University for a student and on dropping off the payroll for a
member of staff. Resources associated with the account are kept for a longer period.
Each registered user is granted access to:
 open access machines within the University (Computing Service open access laboratories and Library open
access PCs). Other computers within the University may also be accessible depending on the department
that the owner belongs to;
 a central file store allocation;
 an email account and access to any relevant internal mailing lists. The mailbox address is the assigned login
name with ‘’ appended;
 resources on the campus network and the Internet;
 centrally provided network printers;
 the University dial-up service.
The Computing Service maintains a number of authentication domains based on the computer accounts it
provides, used by the Computing Service and other departments to control access to computer resources. These
are currently based on Microsoft Active Directory for authentication on Windows systems and an in-house
system for authentication on Unix.
Authentication services are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year, subject to scheduled maintenance and
interruptions due to emergencies.
Technical support is provided from 0900 to 1700 on working days. In addition, a call-out service is provided for
senior University staff (on a list approved by the Vice-Chancellor) from 0900 to 1700 at weekends and on bank
The Computing Service provides support for registered users with problems access their computing account
from 0900 – 1700 on normal working days and by special arrangement at other times.
The Computing Service aims to provide a reliable service, and to correct problems and failures promptly. It
undertakes to act promptly in the case of virus infection or other abuse, and monitors national security warnings
issued by the UKERNA CERT team. Maintenance which involves withdrawal of part of the service will
whenever possible be scheduled outside the period 0900 to 1800 on working days, and at least three working
days notice will be given except in emergencies. Scheduled maintenance is announced on the Computing Service
Announcements web page. Return of service after scheduled maintenance, unscheduled emergency maintenance
and problems affecting the service are announced on the Status web page and subscription email list.
Outside scheduled hours support is on a best-efforts basis.
Maintenance, and faults and the subsequent recovery action, are recorded in the Computing Service Systems
Group systems log. Serious problems are monitored closely by the Systems Manager and the Director of
Information Systems.
There are no charges for central registration and authentication services.