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1.1. We recognize, however, that there may

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1.1.   Develop and maintain highly effective, reliable, secure, and innovative information systems to support instructional and administrative functions.

1.2.   Facilitate the collection, storage, security and integrity of electronic data while ensuring appropriate access.

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Guiding Principles

These principles will allow us to develop specific solutions, as we move forward, that take advantage of current technology. We believe these principles will hold in the majority of cases but recognize that, given the impact of technology-driven change, they must serve as guidelines, not rules.

1. Early follower. Gannon does not have the resources, financial or technical, to be on the “bleeding edge” of technology. We therefore best position ourselves as an “early follower”.  This will allow us to avoid difficulties that pioneering efforts at other institutions have uncovered while always using software and hardware that is current and supported by the vendor. We recognize, however, that there may be areas where we are willing to be even less aggressive or times when we may choose to be at the cutting edge.

2. Central. Gannon will provide most IT Services via a central organization.  This will allow us to manage costs by taking advantage of economies of scale, supporting only standard hardware and software and leveraging our limited IT staff resources.  Where it makes sense to provide decentralized administration, due to the need of specialized knowledge or logistical constraints, the supporting department will consult with ITS and the appropriate Vice President before establishing the service.

3. Buy, don’t build; Adapt, don’t customize. Whenever possible, we will buy off-the-shelf software for administrative and academic applications. When business practices conflict with the capabilities of commercial software, we should question, and probably modify, the business practices rather than the software.  The cost and risks associated with maintaining customized software increase exponentially as more and more customization is performed.  Also, by purchasing systems that adhere to open, industry-wide standards and not proprietary standards, and resisting the urge to customize applications, we are more readily able to obtain knowledgeable support for our systems and retain the flexibility to change vendors when a better solution comes along.

4. Effective information management. Our goal is to have highly accurate and cost-effective control of our information. Ideally, no information should be entered more than once and systems that require a piece of information should receive it automatically and electronically from a source traceable back to a master copy. Information should be stored on centralized servers to ensure it is properly backed up and access is restricted only to authorized individuals.  Ideally, no information will only be stored on PCs or mobile devices.  Proactive steps will be taken to mitigate the risks posed by hackers, viruses, spyware and other potential breaches of security.

5. Life-cycle planning. All software and hardware has a life cycle, necessitating a plan for the full cost of renewal, support, and training of both end-users and technical staff. The planning model must consider issues such as barriers to exit, alternative financing options (leasing, sharing costs with partner institutions, etc.), open source initiatives vs. vendor-developed software, and deployment options (mobile resources shared by many vs. fixed or individualized resources). 

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