IT Helpdesk Policy

IT Helpdesk Policy

PURPOSE

  • To ensure that the proper elements and commitment are in place to provide optimal support services for the technology related function.
  • The IT Helpdesk has been created to ensure that the IT Department can meet the increasing information technology demands of the college with the available resources. The Helpdesk can be contacted to register technology related problems, queries and requests, in addition to just discuss technology matters.
  • The Helpdesk receives users’ technology requests, logs and tracks those requests, and determines the best response necessary to fulfill the requests. One of the top priorities of the IT Department is to ensure a consistent response to service requests, status reporting, and notification of changes related to the information technology environment at ACK.

SCOPE

This document outlines the levels of service available from the IT Department Helpdesk, the notification process, the response characteristics, and the escalation policy related to each. It is provided to help define the expectations that a user should have when interacting with the IT Helpdesk for service.

POLICY STATEMENT

Official Use:

  • The Helpdesk services are ACK’s resources and are intended to be used to support teaching, research, service, and administration of ACK mission.
  • Faculty, staff, and other authorized persons who are affiliated with the college may use Helpdesk services when engaging in activities related to their roles in the college.
  • Helpdesk services are provided to students who require assistance in using or accessing the college login, email, software, network connectivity and other available technology related resources.
  • Helpdesk services may not be used for personal purposes, nor used to support personally owned hardware or software.

Services not Covered in this document:

  • Printing, and copying related issues.
  • Disaster recovery plan and procedures.
  • Backup and recovery.
  • Technology procurement.

Location and Hours of Operation:

  • Building 4, first floor, room F07.
  • For students Sunday – Thursday 8:00am – 3:00pm.
  • For staff Sunday – Thursday 7:30am – 8:00pm.
  • Shifts should be scheduled by the Manager - Network Systems.
  • Staff who cannot work their scheduled shifts should notify their immediate supervisor.
  • IT Helpdesk staff based upon the number available will carry out the following scheduled shifts during normal college operation and scheduled classes:
  • Shift 1 7:30am 3:00pm
    Shift 2 8:00am 3:30pm
    Shift 3 12:30pm 8:00pm

  • During semester breaks when no classes are scheduled, the helpdesk will have limited hours of operation from 8:00am – 3:30pm.

Methods of Contact:

  • Telephone : 1-828225 ext 6000.
  • International: (+965) 25376111 ext 6000.
  • Fax : (+965) 25376222.
  • Email : helpdesk@ack.edu.kw
  • Personal Visit: Building 4, first floor, room F07.
  • Emergency Hotline: (+965) 96960469

General Notes:

  • The specified numbers are internal to ACK, and require external callers to first dial 1 828 225 or (+965) 25376111 followed by extension 6000.
  • The extension 6000 is assigned to the IT Helpdesk. All IT staff extensions are placed within a hunting group and therefore can pick up a call by pressing “*55” on their phone keypad to access the group pickup service.
  • At least one staff member will be available to receive incoming calls during operation hours unless special circumstances dictate otherwise, such as during important meetings that cannot be interrupted, or fire drills.
  • No more than five minutes should be assigned to an initial support call. If a solution cannot be found in this time, the call will be logged, classified, and forwarded to the relevant support resource.
  • Voicemail should be checked regularly to ensure that nobody has been missed. Normally the voicemail light flashes on the phone to indicate a message has been left. However, the warning light is sometimes delayed or inactive, and a random check as time permits ensures whether or not there are calls waiting.
  • The primary IT Helpdesk email address is helpdesk@ack.edu.kw. This address is pointed to the account ‘helpdesk’, and must be password protected, and access is restricted to the IT staff. Users requesting support must apply via the Helpdesk email to ensure proper documentation of the request.
  • The secondary email address ackannouncement@ack.edu.kw is used to broadcast IT related information or requests to users. Users will not be able to reply to this email as it is assigned to broadcast messages to users.
  • Other email addresses are used by the IT department in coordination with the Helpdesk staff for specific technology subscriptions or software licenses.
  • Emergency Helpdesk hotline will be available during off working hours for critical services only that affects the college operation.

Technical Support Team:

  • Provide first level support for computer software and classroom technology equipment used.
  • Respond to requests for technical assistance in-person, via phone, and electronically.
  • Diagnose and resolve technical hardware and software issues.
  • Research questions using available information resources.
  • Advise user on appropriate action.
  • Log all helpdesk interactions.
  • Redirect problems to appropriate resource.
  • Identify and escalate situations requiring urgent attention.
  • Track and route problems and requests and document resolutions.

Networking Support Team

  • Maintain the health and functionality of the network infrastructure – switches, firewalls, routers, wireless controllers and access points.
  • Administer network and internet access control systems.
  • Manage shared network resources in adherence to IT security policies.
  • Work with IT support teams to resolve service requests as they pertain to issues with telecommunications and networking.
  • Maintain the physical plant as pertaining to ACK wiring standards.
  • Develop implementation strategies for equipment upgrades and future growth.
  • Implement and administrate appropriate networking protocols.
  • Provide administration to data, voice, and video networking.

Systems Administration Support Team

  • Optimizes system operation and resource utilization, and performs system capacity analysis and planning.
  • Provides assistance to users in accessing and using production systems.
  • Work with IT support teams to resolve service requests as they pertain to issues with systems and applications.
  • Provides phone and in-person support to users in the areas of email, directories, standard Windows desktop applications, and in-house developed applications.
  • Utilizes various diagnostic and systems architectural tools to determine requirements, and design formal solutions in response to staff and faculty requirements or needs.
  • Recommends modifications to development plans as requirements or needs deem appropriate.
  • Install and upgrade software on systems hardware.

Business Systems Support Team

  • Responds to and resolves users’ questions, problems with, and requests for enhancements to the applications and services.
  • Work with other IT teams to ensure proper operation and functionality of applications.
  • Ensures that users are adequately trained on the functionality, and that the applications meet the business needs of the college.
  • Maintain and enhance web, database, and multimedia based applications.
  • Ensures that programming and enhancements is completed according to technology standards.

Level of Support

  • A problem is an unplanned or unexpected event that deviates from standard activities or normal operating conditions. The following severity levels document the prioritization and resolution of problem types. These definitions will be consistently communicated and utilized by the Helpdesk and IT staff when dealing with commonly shared problem, requests, and changes:
  • Severity Level Scope Example
    P3 (Low) Issues that do not affect normal applications, network operation and/or questions concerning application function or use How to question
    Password reset
    Account creation
    Hardware diagnostics
    P2 (Urgent) Large numbers of users are impacted. Entire office, classroom, lab, or department is experiencing a similar problem. Small number of users cannot use a mission critical application Application license
    Network switch down
    Classroom projector
    Access controller
    P1 (Emergency) A major production outage, performance degradation, or instability causing significant impact to ACK operation Internet link issues
    Network circuit down
    Production application inoperative

  • Severity Levels are designed to work in conjunction with priority levels.
  • Severity Levels identify the pure business impact of a problem or request whereas priority level offer a way to capture the business situation or requirement on a personal level. Both the severity level and the priority must be assessed and captured on the Helpdesk ticketing system. The use of these criteria is designed to assist in workflow prioritization based on common definitions.
  • The severity level allows the IT Helpdesk to respond appropriately with the proper resources within a predefined timeframe. It is not based on the emotions or circumstances of the user.

Priority Determination

  • The priority given to a support ticket that will determine how quickly it is scheduled for resolution will be set depending upon a combination of the severity level and impact.

Target Times

  • Following are the current targets for response and resolution for support tickets based upon priority:
  • Priority Response Resolve
    P3 (Low) 24 Hours 2 Days
    P2 (Urgent) 1 Hours 4 Hours
    P1 (Emergency) 10 Minutes 2 Hours

Support Procedures

  • The IT Helpdesk will manage and process the daily operations with respect to the following:
    • the management of users’ submitted requests;
    • the scheduling of appointments to resolve requests within established timeframe;
    • the standards to be maintained in communicating status, and the handling of situations that may arise.
    • “Support ticket” is the phrase used to describe an electronic document that contains information about a request for assistance from a user. The information on a Helpdesk support ticket is routed and tracked by a helpdesk system as it is dealt with by support staff.
    • Users have the option to place support requests via the method of contact described in this document. All requests regardless of the method must be logged in the IT Helpdesk system.
  • The following process guideline is designed to ensure that the users’ requests are dealt with to the user satisfaction:
    • During a given business day, a review process will be initiated across support requests by the Technical Support Team.
    • During the review process, the Technical Support supervisor will prioritize and reprioritize support requests as per the policies and workload so as to ensure that tickets of greater severity receive higher priority.
    • Where further information is required to assess the severity of a support request, the Technical Support Team will contact the user requesting support for additional information.
    • All additional information used in determination of severity level should be documented within the support request.
    • Support requests bundled within the content of a single ticket will be unbundled as separate tickets for purposes of tracking and prioritization.
    • Tickets representing support requests that require a multi-stage process for resolution will be divided into component tickets with all dependencies established between the component tickets.
  • For existing support requests:
    • A determination will be made as to whether circumstances or hindrances noted as preventing the forward progress towards resolution of a ticket have changed.
    • Where necessary, steps essential to affect circumstances or remove hindrances will be documented within the ticket and scheduled so as to progress the resolution of the support request.
    • Estimates of time necessary to resolve or affect the plan of action will be revised for purposes of scheduling service appointments within the timeframe of the Technical Support Team.
    • The user(s) associated with the support request will be notified of any change of circumstances permitting forward progress or any necessary actions and their scheduling.
    • For ticket(s) where no action is presently required, a quick note to the user(s) should indicate the continuing present state of affairs.
  • For new support requests:
    • The Technical Support Team will document within the ticket an appropriate action plan for resolution of the ticket.
    • Initial estimates of the amount of time necessary to affect the action plan will be established for purposes of scheduling service appointments within the service windows of the Helpdesk.
  • For all support requests:
    • Keywords and status fields will be modified as necessary to reflect the current status of the support request.
    • If the modifications made to the ticket solely reflect information relevant only to internal IT department processes, the communication should be denoted as such prior to submission of the modifications.
    • Prior to the beginning of a service window, the Helpdesk staff will review all tickets assigned to them and denote acceptance of the assignment.
    • The Helpdesk staff member will prepare and assemble all necessary materials and resources for successful accomplishment of scheduled tasks within the tickets assigned.
    • Prior to each service appointment requiring a physical visit to the user(s) associated with the request, the Helpdesk staff member will contact the user(s) by phone alerting them that they are in transit.
    • If the user(s) are not present or will not be present for the appointment, a message will be left providing a call back number for the rescheduling of the appointment.
    • The Helpdesk staff member should move on to the next service appointment within their service window.
    • If the time required to complete a scheduled service appointment is materially greater than that estimated and threatens other appointments of equal or greater severity, the service appointment is to be truncated for later action or transferred to another team member of equal or greater qualification.
    • Where time bounds dictate that appointments to service requests of lesser severity must be dropped within the current service window, as soon as is reasonably possible, a phone call will be made to the affected user(s) and the cancellation will be documented within the associated Helpdesk ticket such that the support request is rescheduled.
  • Projects related tickets or Tickets with WAIT status:
    • All assigned tickets that are not in “WAIT” must be updated at least once a week on the status of the ticket.
    • A support ticket may only be in “WAIT” status, and not require regular weekly updates, if no work can be completed within the week or while waiting on a response.
    • In the event that a support ticket is not addressed or updated within one week, a reminder email should be sent to the ticket assignee. If there is no update two weeks after the ticket was created, the helpdesk supervisor should be notified for corrective actions.
  • Prior to leaving a service appointment:
    • The Helpdesk staff member will document the activities and the current status of the support request within the associated Helpdesk ticket. If additional action is necessary, all necessary steps required should be documented for review and later scheduling.
    • Helpdesk staff will communicate their activities, the current status of the support request, and any additional actions required to the user(s).
    • If a service window elapses and appointments scheduled within the service window have not yet been serviced, the Helpdesk staff member will call or email the affected user(s) to communicate that:
      • they will be unable to keep their scheduled appointment and;
      • they will work to reschedule the appointment as soon as possible within a coming service window.
    • Helpdesk staff members are to perform all actions in resolution of an issue or request strictly within the context of established policies and procedures. Should there be an issue with respect to policy or procedure; no action should be taken without the direct supervisor and the Senior Manager – IT approvals.
  • Support for Events:
    • Any user that needs IT support for an event must create a request at least two weeks before the date of the event. Events that is requested less than two weeks before the date of the event will be supported on a “best effort” basis.

Escalation Procedures

  • When support requests aren't resolved quickly at the initial help level or if the requests are not being resolved in the time set by the assigned priority level, the IT Helpdesk will route the problems to more advanced and experienced teams.
  • Wherever possible or considered necessary, the IT staff will endeavor to provide a workaround to the user(s) as quickly as possible until a permanent resolution to the problem is achieved. External support will be coordinated by the IT staff to help resolve the problem at a minimum impact to ACK operations.

IT Support Services & Description

  • Software Support: The IT Helpdesk provides basic and advanced support for a variety of software and applications. If immediate assistance cannot be obtained from the IT Helpdesk, the staff will endeavor to forward their request or query to the most appropriate subject matter.
  • Hardware Support: It is the mission of the IT Helpdesk to ensure that the technical resources available to the faculty, staff, and students functions properly. In so striving to fulfill this mission, it is necessary in many cases to restore faulty or “ill-tempered” hardware back to its operational state.
  • Telecommunication Support: The IT Helpdesk provides support to faculty and staff for using ACK's telephone system such as installation, moves, or changes to service.
  • Students are not allowed to use the college telephone system unless authorized and accompanied by faculty or staff member.
  • General Assistance: The following may include, but is not limited to general assistance available to all users:
    • General computing advice
    • Audio and video.
    • Video conferencing
    • Smart classroom components
    • Systems integration.
  • Technology Inventory: The IT helpdesk is responsible for maintaining a current technology inventory, including the software loaded on all ACK owned hardware. Users maybe requested to provide a copy of a license and/or proof of purchase for software not acquired by the IT department.
  • Privacy: IT helpdesk will protect the security of all information. Any electronic information gathered in the attempt to meet user support needs will be protected by security practices, policies, and procedures.
  • Feedback: The IT Helpdesk must be proactive in seeking feedback through follow-up calls and online surveys, though users are encouraged to provide feedback on the Helpdesk services at any time by sending email to helpdesk@ack.edu.kw

Consequences of Violations

  • Access privileges to ACK information technology resources will not be denied without cause. If in the course of an investigation, it appears necessary to protect the integrity, security, or continued operation of its computers and networks or to protect itself from liability, ACK may temporarily deny access to those resources.
  • Alleged policy violations will be referred to the appropriate ACK investigative and disciplinary units. ACK may also refer suspected violations of law to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
  • Depending on the nature and severity of the offense, policy violations may result in loss of access privileges, ACK disciplinary action, and/or criminal prosecution.

TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

  • Application: Software that provides functions that are required by an IT service. Each application may be part of more than one IT service.
  • Category: Categories are used to group similar incident types together.
  • Change: The addition, modification or removal of anything that could have an effect on IT services.
  • Change Management: The process responsible for controlling the lifecycle of all changes. The primary objective of change management is to enable beneficial changes to be made with minimum disruption to IT services.
  • Configuration: A generic term used to describe a group of configuration items that work together to deliver an IT service or a recognizable part of IT service.
  • Deployment: The activity responsible for movement of new or changed hardware, software, documentation, process, etc. to the live environment.
  • Development: The process responsible for creating or modifying an IT service or application.
  • Escalation: An activity that obtains additional resources when these are needed to meet service level targets or expectations.
  • Incident: An unplanned interruption to an IT service or a reduction in quality of an IT service.
  • Problem: A cause of one or more incidents.
  • Process: A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective. A process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into defined outputs. A process may include any of the roles, responsibilities, tools and management controls required to reliably deliver the outputs. A process may define policies, standards, guidelines, activities, and work instructions if they are needed.
  • Release: A collection of hardware, software, documentation, processes or other components required to implement one or more approved changes to IT services.
  • System Administrator: Individual who has responsibility for administration of a named supported information system.
  • Version: A version is used to identify a specific baseline of a configuration item. Versioning typically uses a naming convention that enables the sequence or date of each baseline to be identified.
  • Workaround: Reducing or eliminating the impact of an incident or problem for which a full resolution is not yet available.

ATTACHMENTS

  • IT Helpdesk Escalation Workflow

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