IT Code of Practice - Core Regulations

The aim of these regulations is to help ensure that University of Sheffield IT facilities can be used safely, lawfully and equitably.

The issues covered by these regulations are complex; if you require further information you are are strongly urged to read the accompanying guidance notes. This gives more detailed information that we hope you will find useful. If this does not contain the information you require please contact the IT Service Desk.

1 Scope

These regulations apply to anyone using the IT facilities (hardware, software, data, network access, third-party services, online services or IT credentials) provided or arranged by the University of Sheffield.

2 Governance

When using IT, you remain subject to the same laws and regulations as in the physical world.

It is expected that your conduct is lawful. Furthermore, ignorance of the law is not considered to be an adequate defence for unlawful conduct.

When accessing services from another jurisdiction, you must abide by all relevant local laws, as well as those applicable to the location of the service.

You are bound by University of Sheffield general regulations, available at, and the “Regulations on the Use of Computing Facilities” when using the IT facilities.

Where additional policies or processes are required for specific IT facilities (e.g. notably those with privileged access) these will be communicated to you and you must abide by them.

You must abide by the regulations applicable to any other organisation whose services you access such as Janet, Eduserv and Jisc Collections. When using services via eduroam, you are subject to both the regulations of the University of Sheffield and the institution where you are accessing services.

Some software licences procured by the University of Sheffield will set out obligations for the user – these should be adhered to. If you use any software or resources covered by a Chest agreement, you are deemed to have accepted the Eduserv User Acknowledgement of Third Party Rights. (See accompanying guidance for more detail.)

Breach of any applicable law or third party regulation will be regarded as a breach of these IT regulations.

3 Authority

These regulations are issued under the authority of the Director of IT Services acting on behalf of the University Executive Board IT sub-group who is also responsible for their interpretation and enforcement, and who may also delegate such authority to other people.

You must not use the IT facilities without the permission of the Director of IT Services or the person or body to whom the facilities belong.

You must comply with any reasonable written or verbal instructions issued by people with delegated authority in support of these regulations. If you feel that any such instructions are unreasonable or are not in support of these regulations, you may appeal to the Director of IT Services or the Head of Department to whom the facilities belong.

4 Intended Use

The IT facilities are provided for use in furtherance of the mission of the University of Sheffield, for example, to support a course of study, research or in connection with your employment by the University.

Use of these facilities for personal activities (provided that it does not infringe any of the regulations, and does not interfere with others’ valid use) is permitted, but this is a privilege that may be withdrawn at any point.

Use of these IT facilities for non-University commercial purposes or for personal gain requires the explicit approval of the Director of IT Services.

Use of certain licences is only permitted for academic use and where applicable to the code of conduct published by the Combined Higher Education Software Team (CHEST)

See the accompanying guidance for further details.

5 Identity

You must take all reasonable precautions to safeguard any IT credentials (for example a username and password, email address, smart card or other identity hardware) issued to you.

  • You must not allow anyone else to use your IT credentials. No-one has the authority to ask you for your password, and you must not disclose it to anyone.
  • You must not attempt to obtain or use anyone else’s credentials.
  • You must not impersonate someone else or otherwise disguise your identity when using the IT facilities.
  • You must not reuse your University credentials (for example your University username and password) on any external service.

6 Infrastructure

You must not do anything to jeopardise the integrity of the IT infrastructure by, for example, doing any of the following without approval:

  • Damaging, reconfiguring or moving equipment;
  • Loading software on University equipment other than in approved circumstances;
  • Reconfiguring or connecting equipment to the network other than by approved methods;
  • Setting up servers or services on the network;
  • Deliberately or recklessly introducing malware;
  • Attempting to disrupt or circumvent IT security measures of any device, network, system or account, including authentication controls.

You must abide by the University’s Code of Connection when connecting devices to the University network.

7 Information

If you handle personal, confidential or sensitive information, you must take all reasonable steps to safeguard it and must observe University Data Protection and Information Security policies and guidance, particularly with regard to removable media, mobile and privately owned devices.

You must not infringe copyright, or break the terms of licences for software or other material.

You must not attempt to access, delete, modify or disclose information belonging to other people without their permission. Where this is not possible you must gain explicit approval from the Director of IT Services and the Head of Department concerned.

You must not create, download, store or transmit unlawful material, or material that is indecent, offensive, threatening, discriminatory or extremist. The University has procedures to approve and manage valid activities involving such material; these are available at and must be observed.

The University, when there is a legislative and regulatory need such as a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 2018, reserves the right to access and share information held against University accounts. Only information pertaining to valid Subject Access Requests will be shared.

You must abide by the University’s policies and procedures when using the IT facilities to publish information.

8 Behaviour

Real world standards of behaviour apply online and on social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Blogger and Twitter.

  • You must not cause needless offence, concern or annoyance to others.
  • You should also adhere to University, and where necessary departmental, guidelines on social media.
  • You must not send spam (unsolicited bulk email).
  • You must not deliberately or recklessly consume excessive IT resources such as processing power, bandwidth or consumables.
  • You must not use the IT facilities in a way that interferes with others’ valid use of them.

9 Monitoring

The University monitors and records the use of its IT facilities for the purposes of:

  • To perform academic and administrative functions and to meet legal and regulatory obligations to sector bodies and government;
  • The effective and efficient planning and operation of the IT facilities;
  • Detection and prevention of infringement of these regulations;
  • Investigation of alleged misconduct.

The University will comply with lawful requests for information from government and law enforcement agencies.

You must not attempt to monitor the use of the IT facilities without explicit authority from the Director of IT Services.

10 Infringement

Infringing these regulations may result in sanctions under the University’s disciplinary processes. Penalties may include the temporary or permanent withdrawal of services. Offending material will be taken down.

Information about infringement may be passed to appropriate law enforcement agencies, and any other organisations whose regulations you have breached.

The University reserves the right to recover from you any costs incurred as a result of your infringement.

You must inform us if you become aware of any infringement of these regulations.