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Overview of policy, eligibility & core service descriptions.

Departmental IT Policy

The Department will be responsible for a general IT policy, in particular where financial matters are concerned, and MSD IT will liaise on a regular basis with an appropriate member of staff, often the Departmental Administrator or similar. MSD IT will advise on and implement a policy as long as it does not conflict with either MSD IT, Divisional or University policies.

Eligibility FOR Service

All members of participating Departments who possess a valid University Card will be eligible automatically to obtain support and services from MSD IT. Please apply for an account via our online form.

Those not holding a University card may receive limited support if proof of affiliation is issued by the Departmental Administrator. In order to use email and an internet connection, a person MUST possess a University Card. Most NHS teachers should be eligible for Honorary Clinical Lecturer status. In these cases, the Department must agree to accept any cost involved in providing services to these people.

Access to network services will only be available by use of a valid MSD IT username. Usernames are allocated on a personal basis and must not be disclosed to or used by another person.

Core Services

MSD IT will provide the following to individual Medical Science Division Departments:

  • Provision and maintenance of networks and firewalls
  • Management network accounts for file, print and VPN access
  • Associated file store and printing
  • PC and Mac software including Office and Web browsing software.
  • Desktop (PC and Mac) management including security patching using ZEN works
  • Commissioning new machines
  • Advice and providing quotations from suppliers for new machines
  • Advice on high-risk activities where sensitive personal data may be involved
  • Anti-virus and anti-malware software installation and monitoring
  • IT Security incident management
  • A centralised service desk with 9am-5pm service on normal working days.

Network file store and user accounts

A network account entitles the holder to University networked services and provides an allocated personal file store of at least 10GB. All accounts will be set to expire at the same time as the user’s University card. Any extension to the University card should be notified to MSD IT. It is the responsibility of the user to comply with these restrictions. Additional file storage space may be negotiated if it can be justified, however substantial additional network file store may be need to be charged for. All networked file store is maintained and backed up by MSD IT.

File store for research groups is allocated on an equitable basis. Larger file store at a modest annual charge is available from our 2nd Tier Storage offering.  All storage services are fully backed up in addition to being fully resilient to hardware failure or other outage.


All members of the University are eligible for a Nexus365 account provided by central IT Services.

MSD IT provides 1st line support for Nexus including email, calendaring, OneDrive, Teams and other services provided by Office365 that central IT Services offer.

Assistance with buying and Installing Personal Computing Equipment

All hardware "behind the socket" is maintained by MSD IT (or other agencies if outside the Division). Desktop machines, printers, scanners, etc. will be diagnosed by members of the MSD IT team. Repairs will only be carried out at the discretion of the member of staff dealing with the problems based on the cost in effort by MSD IT. Spare parts are charged for.

Additionally, localised groups will have need of computing facilities that extend these core services in order to perform their research activities. These extended core services usually take the form of mass data storage (typically genetic sequences and images), typically in the order of terabytes or significant fractions there of. As requests for large amounts of data storage are commonplace and across departments, no further charge is made but this facility has to be requested. However very large requests (“very large” is determined on a case by case basis) are charged for at cost, this will include backup and related software in addition to the raw hardware.

Personal Computing Equipment

MSD IT will provide advice to all eligible users on the purchase of computer related items. This will include computers, printers, scanners and other associated personal computing equipment. If requested, a formal quote for the equipment will be obtained, but the host Department/individual concerned will be responsible for placing the order via the normal Departmental route. Items may also be ordered via MSD IT. Some larger new equipment installations may incur an additional setup charge.

MSD IT will advise on computers based on the Intel architectures and the appropriate Microsoft, Linux or Apple operating systems. Items such as scanners, desktop and group printers are also generally supported. Advice and support for portable devices such as smartphones and tablets will be provided on a reasonable efforts basis as there are so many different devices available.  We have reasonable expertise in iOS and Android.

MSD IT can assist with buying software including that available via central IT Services and we manage some software deals at divisional level.

MSD IT will configure all equipment attached to the network as appropriate. MSD IT Services is required to maintain network integrity and security so please do not connect any equipment to the network without prior consultation. Personally owned equipment may be attached to the network but will need to comply with the same requirements as that owned by the Department.

Configuration of Computers

MSD IT will set up personal computers with an appropriate, fully patched and updated operating system and the following:

  • The appropriate network client or configuration
  • An Office suite of programs
  • An email client
  • Anti-virus software

Users may also specify additional software that is currently available via a site licence agreement, many of which may be installed by the user at a later date. However, volume licence software or any application that needs to be purchased must be obtained and or registered via the appropriate route.


Machines will be set up with the following:

  • The appropriate operating system correctly configured for the standard hardware in the machine (Windows, Mac OS or Linux).
  • Anti-virus software
  • A network client, as appropriate
  • An email client
  • An optional web browser
  • An Office suite
  • Set up printer services as necessary.
  • Optional software.

In order to maintain the security of network services MSD IT only supports those desktop operating systems which are themselves supported by the original manufacturer. These systems will be updated as deemed necessary and, where possible, automatically.

Procurement and Maintenance of Network Server Infrastructure

The replacement cycle is based on the warranty that comes with the equipment, or a 3-5 year replacement cycle. For equipment with a lifetime warranty we will replace when the device is considered too slow or unreliable.

Procurement of Wired Network Facilities

MSD IT will maintain the network service to the University data points as part of the standard departmental charge. This includes supporting the local network connection to the University backbone. Support will be provided for the existing active network equipment (switches etc.). and they will be maintained and periodically replaced as part of the MSD IT charge.  Expansion of provision in existing buildings or into new buildings will need to be paid for separately and provided to an agreed standard before MSD IT takes it on as part of its maintained infrastructure.

Server Provision

All servers are Intel based. We purchase from a variety of vendors however are now showing a preference for Dell hardware. By taking this route for servers we are avoiding equipment that needs maintenance contracts, as they are easy to maintain in house. Virtual servers are offered on a manged or unmanaged basis and are chargeable on an annual basis depending on levels of resources required.

Personal file store will be allocated according to the availability of network resources and reside on hardware determined by MSD IT. It is unlikely that a specific server would be designated for general purpose use by the Department.

The requirement for specific or bespoke servers or services must be discussed fully with MSD IT and where standard resources cannot be allocated by MSD IT locally managed systems may be permitted. In most cases it will be the responsibility of the researcher or group concerned to maintain both hardware and software so as to ensure security and integrity.


Servers and therefore user data stored on them are backed up by MSD IT to both its own facility and the central IT Services HFS service (a remote backup service.) Desktop backup is the responsibility of the individual users. Users are recommended to make use of the HFS/TSM service run by central IT Services if data is routinely stored locally. Alternatively users may be shown the backup options provided by external discs and/or removal media. However, it is recommended that important data is stored on a network drive in addition to a local copy to ensure that it is backed up every 24 hours. The MSD IT backup service is not an archive service (do not delete a file expecting it to be on the backup service for ever more). Should a file be accidentally deleted, a request for restoration should be made immediately, as the backup recycles its space, overwriting old backups

Internet Access

All University network sockets provide internet access (although some aspects are blocked by central IT Services and MSD IT security measures.) MSD IT does not routinely monitor or police the use of the internet, but will give the law enforcement agencies full access in their pursuit of criminal activity. MSD IT will contact the appropriate authorities should suspicious activities be discovered in its normal monitoring of the systems. Attention is also drawn to the Regulations relating to use of IT in Oxford University.

A Central SerVICE desk Call Logging Service with Local Support

MSD IT will allocate the staff to provide services on the various sites as necessary. Their task is to manage and support services on a routine basis as per this agreement. Additional staff will be allocated as necessary if available. The services provided by MSD IT are co-ordinated via a decentralised Service Desk.  MSD IT can also be contacted via email:- or by telephone on 01865 (2)80030. Whilst MSD IT staff can receive email directly to their personal accounts there is no mechanism for guaranteeing these are actioned during absence and so should not be used for support requests.

Response Time

MSD IT will endeavour to respond calls within within 16 working hours. Working hours will be regarded as 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on normal working days, not weekends, bank holidays, or pre-notified closure days around the change of the calendar year. 

Services Not Offered

In general we do not refuse reasonable requests for services. However services that require a large investment in specialist manpower and/or equipment have not been traditionally supported. We believe specialist services that are only used in one department are better provided at departmental level.

We cannot provide manpower for research projects or individuals for small groups/units/departments. In general we cannot support specialist equipment.


MSD IT endeavours to offer bespoke small-scale training for software used in the Division where no training is offered by central IT Services.  It also strives to encourage central University IT training to be delivered in the John Radcliffe and Old Road Campus areas as well as in the City Centre.


MSD IT does not currently provide archiving of user data. Archiving means the storage of infrequently used data off-line, usually on tape or other removable media. The backup service will contain data that the user had on a file server disk space long enough to be backed up (longer than 24 hours.) The new backup will be retained for between 6 to 12 months before it is expired. 


MSD IT does not generally have the resource for writing applications, utilities, tools, or database applications for any Department but these requirements can be discussed on an individual basis.  In 2020 MSD IT was commissioned to develop and maintain the extremely successful software used to run the Covid-19 Early Alert Service, for example.

Services offered by central IT Services not offered by MSD IT

Central IT Services provides the University networking infrastructure and the connection to the "outside world." Importantly for the Division it also supplies a first line defence against malware and spam, and manages licensing for various software packages.

Importantly for the user community it also holds many software licences such as that with Microsoft and a desktop backup service.

In general a user should contact MSD IT with any IT-related requests. If the user needs a service not offered by MSD IT, it will refer the user to central IT Services.

Commonly requested services from central IT Services that may be of interest for MSD IT users are listed on the IT Services I want to... pages and there is a fuller listing on its service pages.