PC Desktop Software Support

Overview

In order to maintain the most robust, stable, and secure workstation to our customers, HSTS configures PCs so that customers have limited access to the operating system files and no ability to install new software. This minimizes the chance of operating system corruption or software being added to the PC which compromises its function or introduces security risks on the Secure Clinical network. Should the need arise to install software not contained in the base PC image set, the HSTS Help Desk can assist by giving temporary rights for the installation (depending on the support criteria for that software as outlined in this document), or assigning to a technician for an on-site installation. In rare instances a customer may require permanent elevated rights in order to run software or perform particular operations that require these rights. An HSTS Service Request can be submitted to evaluate such needs. Licensing costs may be applicable according to the specific software application.

Purpose

To provide pc and software information and support to individuals that will ensure the safety and security of our operating systems at all times.

Scope

This document describes HSTS support of PC-based software. Four categories of support are detailed, including full support, partial support, no support, and software that is not permitted.

Description

Software support is defined by four categories depending on the nature of the application.  Software included in these categories range from fully-supported clinical applications to applications not permitted on the HSTS network due to a high risk for network intrusion or outage, data exposure, or theft.

  • Full Support - Typically enterprise-wide applications, HSTS assures compatibility with the base PC image, provides installation and troubleshooting support; may also provide training and support for functional issues.
  • Partial Support - Typically departmental, workgroup, or personal productivity applications, HSTS provides installation support, but limited or no troubleshooting assistance. Often these applications are fully supported by departmental IT staff.
  • Not Supported - Often applications that have no or limited business use, or are used by a very limited audience. HSTS provides no support; if the application negatively impacts PC or standard application functioning, it will be removed.
  • Not Permitted - Software which in some way negatively impacts the local PC, the network, or compromises security. This software is not permitted on the HSTS network or HSTS-managed PCs. HSTS actively monitors for and will remove this software when discovered.

A particular software package may move from one category to another if compatibility issues arise or other information is discovered which warrants a change in support status.

Within each category, one or more support statuses may be present. Certain support statuses, such as "Out of Date" or "To Be Determined" can indicate potential future movement to a different support category.?Funding for software licenses bear no relationship to the support category. See the section on Software Licensing Costs for more information.

Support Category- Full Support

  • Definition - Applications included in the base HSTS PC image, or are enterprise in nature and used by one or more departments for business-critical functions.
  • Installation/configuration - Yes
  • Problem Resolution - Yes
  • Functional Issues - Depends on application; in some cases, functionality issues are beyond the scope of HSTS support, and these issues must be transferred to other entities, either within or outside of the Health System, for support.
  • Software - Beyond all applications included in the base HSTS image, full support is provided for institutional clinical, financial, and human resources applications, as well as many productivity applications.   These applications include but are not limited to SoftMed, ESA, PACS, PeopleSoft, LanVision, TRACKS, VPN client, ISP Oracle, Project, Visio, FrontPage, ActiveSync, and Palm Desktop.
  • Support Statuses covered - Full

Support Category- Partial Support

  • Definition - Software used by a department or individual which is business-related, but not mission-critical to the functioning of the Health System. A departmentally required non-enterprise application is an application that has been purchased to perform specific computing tasks that are considered vital to the successful operation of the department. This category includes software supported by a departmental IT affiliate (LSP) for which HSTS has been provided the software and installation documentation, and has agreed to provide this service.
  • Installation/configuration - Yes. Note that HSTS must be provided with and retain the original installation media for any software installed on HSTS servers, in order to accommodate re-installation should the need arise.
  • Problem Resolution - Limited or none; usually departmental applications are supported by departmental IT staff.
  • Functional Issues - No
  • Software - This includes departmental, workgroup, and personal productivity applications.
  • Support Statuses covered - Partial, Out of Date (software is not a current version but it remains supported at this time)

Support Category - Not Supported

  • Definition - Software which has no business purpose, or may have a business purpose but is only used by one or a small group of customers.  This software is not tested with the HSTS image, but is permitted on HSTS-managed PCs and the HSTS network.   In the event that stability or other issues arise with a PC containing unsupported software, and the technician cannot fix the problem in reasonable time, the PC may be restored to the HSTS standard configuration.  This will cause the loss of all unsupported software.  Reinstallation of such software is the responsibility of the customer.
  • Installation/configuration - No
  • Problem Resolution - No
  • Functional Issues - No
  • Software - This includes all business-related software and also other software not otherwise included in the Fully Supported, Partially Supported, or Not Permitted software lists.
  • Support Statuses covered - None, To Be Determined (HSTS is currently reviewing to determine support category; until then no support is offered)

Support Category- Not Permitted

  • Definition - Software which has a potentially damaging impact on either the workstation or the HSTS network, either by causing system instability, unreliability, performance problems, viruses, or other network intrusions.   This includes but is not limited to spyware and peer-to-peer file sharing.  Spyware is usually installed without the user's knowledge since it is often bundled with freeware or shareware programs downloaded on the Internet (often peer-to-peer file sharing programs). Spyware can monitor keystrokes, scan files on your hard drive, snoop on other software applications, read your cookies, install other spyware programs, etc. In addition to the privacy concerns, spyware can also degrade your computer's resources and network bandwidth, causing your computer and/or network connection to be unstable or crash.   A significant number of HSTS trouble calls related to PC performance problems are related to the existence of spyware programs. HSTS actively monitors for these programs. When discovered, either by automated means or when a technician is responding to a trouble call, they are removed from the PC.
  • Installation/configuration - No
  • Problem Resolution - No
  • Functional Issues - No
  • Software - This list is updated as new programs are discovered.
  • Support Statuses covered - Unauthorized

Software Licensing Costs

Licensing costs may be applicable according to the specific software application, and such costs bear no relationship to the support category. Some general guidelines pertaining to software licensing are as follows:

  • The operating system must be purchased along with each new PC. HSTS will fund upgrades to the operating system as necessary when a PC is re-installed with a newer base image.
  • If the PC being replaced or re-installed does not have a Microsoft Office license, the department is responsible for funding this license. HSTS will fund upgrades to Microsoft Office if the PC being replaced or re-installed had a license for an older verison of Office.
  • HSTS does not have a site license for Microsoft and most other applications. Funding for software not included in the base image is the responsibility of the department.
  • HSTS will purchase Microsoft licenses for customers upon being provided a departmental funding code through an HSTS Service Request. The department is responsible for the purchase of non-Microsoft software. Depending on the support category, HSTS may perform the installation once the software has been purchased by the department.
  • Any customer purchasing licenses for desktop software should ensure that they retain the media and license agreement, should the need arise to re-install the software. HSTS cannot re-install software without the media and original license agreement.

Document Supporting Resources