Desktop Support Service Level Agreement 2015-2017

General Overview

This is a Service Level Agreement (“SLA”) between Mailman Faculty and Staff and the Desktop Support arm of the Information Technology Department of Mailman (MSPH IT) to document:

  • The Standard Desktop Support Service

  • The general levels of response, availability, and maintenance associated with this service

  • The responsibilities of MSPH Desktop Support as a provider of this service

  • The responsibilities of the clients receiving this service

This version of the Agreement is valid from July 1, 2015 and is reviewed at least every two years.

Service Description

Desktop Support Scope

The Mailman Desktop Support Team (Desktop Support) is an approved CUMC Certified IT Group, authorized to provide Desktop Support under CUMC Policy. MSPH Desktop Support is the only group authorized to provide hardware and software support to MSPH Faculty, Staff and Administrators; MSPH students are supported by CUMC IT.

Eligible Equipment

MSPH desktop supports computers (desktops, laptops, tablets) that:

MSPH desktop supports smartphones. Eligible smartphones can be University or personally-owned. Any smartphone used for work must meet these requirements:

  1. Device must submitted to Mailman IT for registration in the Service Now Asset Inventory. Note: Personally-owned devices are labeled that way in the database.

  2. Device encryption is configured by a Mailman Tech and encryption is maintained at all times. Thereafter, a passcode will be required to access the phone. The user will be prompted to change the code every 90 days.

  3. User agrees to keep device software up-to-date as is required. 

  4. User agrees to report to Mailman IT immediately if the device is:

  • Retired or replaced

  • Lost or stolen

  1. Phone is automatically retired from work use in the event the manufacture stops providing updates.

If it is found that equipment in use does not meet the criteria outlined above, it must be retired and replaced with approved equipment at the cost of the client department. Please note: Personally-owned computers — laptops, tablets, etc. are not approved for work use.


Daily Hours of Operation

5-Help Call Center: (212) 305-4357
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

After Hours On-Call Support:

The telephone number to call for after-hours support is: (347) 714-1728. 5help should be used during regular business hours. 

Monday through Friday: 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 


Scope of Support: 

The On-Call technician will trouble-shoot Level 1 technical issues for up to 20 minutes. For more complex issues that are unable to be resolved in 30 minutes, the technician will create a ticket on your behalf, and follow up the next day. Some complex technical issues may be outside the limits of what can be resolved remotely.  If this is the case, the technician will advise you of what the next steps will be in order to rectify the problem.

The Standard Desktop Support service is an integrated suite of support services for Windows and Mac computers, tablets, phones and other devices (see Supported Device List).  Support is provided by the most efficient method available based on the nature of the problem and the location and availability of the tech and client. Support may involve:

  • Remote assistance via a network

  • Telephone

  • E-mail

  • On site visits

Desktop Support Lifecycle

Planning / Purchasing

  • Clients should consult Desktop Support before making hardware or software purchases. Some hardware or software may not meet CUMC security requirements and devices that don’t meet these requirements cannot be used for work at the School.  

  • Desktop Support only supports certain models and versions of hardware and software in any given year. Please check the CUMC IT website for the current list.

  • Once clients receive pre-purchase approval, they are responsible for purchasing computers and other related equipment at the vendor of their choice.


  • New computers are configured with a baseline standard set of software including a current operating system, licensed common software applications, anti-virus/anti-spyware software, and remote administration tools. Please visit the CUMC IT website for current standard software list.

  • Computers are configured to comply with Columbia University, Columbia University Medical Center, and Mailman School policies and procedures, which can be found within the University’s Administrative Policy Library or the Mailman Website. These include:

                             -Registration And Protection Of Endpoints Policy
                             -Sanitization And Disposal Of Information Resources Policy
                             -Registration And Protection Of Systems Policy
                             -Encryption Policy

  • Computers are pre-configured to use campus services such as email, calendar and VPN, and to connect to the campus wired and wireless networks (Guest & Athens at CUMC).

  • Software not included with the baseline standard configuration can be installed upon request as long as the client provides the license.  Clients may be asked to provide installation media for non-standard software and must have it available when the technician works to set up the machine.

Computer Setup Includes: 

  • Migration of client documents and preferences from original device

  • Configuration of standard networked printers

  • Backup and retention of client data by Desktop Support for a maximum of two weeks to ensure client’s new system is complete

  • Installation of all standard software

  • Share drive mappings

  • BitLocker 256 AES and FileVault 2 encryption

Management and Maintenance


Software Support

Support technicians will install and upgrade supported software in response to client requests, changes to MSPH IT standards, security requirements, or to resolve problems. Technician may install software using a remote tool. Below is the list of supported software:

Windows 7 Standard Supported Software

  • Microsoft Office: Versions, 2010 or 2013 of Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Visio 

  • Adobe Reader, Shockwave & Flash

  • Endnote 6 & 7

  • Cisco VPN

  • Firefox

  • ITunes

  • Skype

  • 7Zip

  • WinSCP

  • Java

  • ARC

  • FFE

Apple Mac 10.9 & 10.8 Supported Software

  • Microsoft Office: 2010 version of Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint

  • Adobe Reader & Flash

  • Safari

  • Quick Time Player

  • Skype

  • Supported software will be installed on approved Windows and Mac computers that are used for University business. University provided software installed on devices that are not University owned remains the property of the University, and will be removed when the device is no longer used for University work.

  • Proof of license for all installed software must be provided to the technician upon request; Desktop Support has installers for most common applications.

  • If Desktop Support does not have installation media, the person requesting the installation must provide the media.

  • Software that does not meet current security standards or policies will not be installed;

  • If found on a device, software that does not meet current security standards or policies will be removed once the client has been notified of the violation.

  • Some software requires specialized configuration. Desktop Support staff will try to configure software that is not on the supported software list, provided documentation is available. However, the technician cannot guarantee a successful install, nor provide training in any unsupported software.

  • In accordance with security policy, only software that is being actively updated/patched by the vendor will be installed. Exceptions may be made for University business or business systems that are not compatible with current software versions, but CUMC’s Information Security Office has to approve its use.

Software Usage & Troubleshooting Support

  • Support staff will provide assistance for software that is not launching or functioning properly. Technicians may not be able to solve issues with software that is not on the “official” supported software list.

  • An Initial investigation is done to determine if the software issue is system or network-related.

  • Problems with some business systems or specialized software may be referred to system specialists or the maker / vendor of software for 3rd level support.

  • Desktop Support will assist in finding documented solutions to end-users requests regarding features and functions of supported software.

  • Clients should refer to help resources, such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Knowledge Base articles,, etc. for help using software applications; Desktop Support will be as helpful as possible, but they are not software experts or trainers.

  • For software not on the standard software list, Desktop Support will resolve installation and functional errors where solutions are practically available, and dedicate a maximum of 20 minutes to troubleshooting.  In situations where a solution is beyond the scope of support, Desktop Support will recommend that clients contact the software vendor for further support.

Device Repairs​

  • Support for repairs covered by warranty includes equipment pickup, shipping, tracking, and return; Success of repair(s) is verified. Turnaround times will be communicated to the client by the Desktop Support tech; however, the actual timing is driven by the repair vendor.

  • Non-warranty repair is provided for computers out of warranty.  Repair by Desktop Support technicians includes replacement of serviceable parts, which are paid for by the client’s department or client depending on who owns the device. Repair may require using an offsite repair vendor; the technician will solicit client approval before incurring any costs on their behalf.  Again, the repair turnaround time will be communicated to the client by the tech, but the actual timing will be driven by the repair vendor.

  • Printing functions of local printers are supported by Desktop Support including deployment and configuration of printer settings, registration, and special configurations for printing from business systems (SIS, FFE, etc...).

  • Installation of client-provided driver software for peripherals such as printers, scanners, external storage devices, and input devices.

  • When possible, Desktop Support will provide a loaner computer to faculty or staff whose computer is out for repair; this computer will be standard build (no specialized software, customization, or user data); clients are expected to use the O drive, P drive and Web Outlook to access their data for the short loaner period.


Desktop Support coordinates computer and other technical equipment disposal with Columbia University secure disposal program. Data is securely erased from storage devices prior to disposal. Clients can open a ticket with 5Help to alert the Desktop Team that a computer is ready for disposal.

Our Commitment to You


General Service Levels

The goal of Mailman Desktop Support is to assign, acknowledge, and begin working on “Normal” incidents and service requests within 8 business hours of receipt. An incident is any interruption in the normal functioning of a service or system.

Initial Response

  1. Requests for support will be fulfilled based on priorities (Critical, High, Medium, and Normal) which are determined by urgency and level of impact.

  2. Response is defined as a “good faith” effort to communicate with the customer using the contact information provided by that customer. Response may be via phone or voice mail, e-mail, or personal visit.

  3. Service Level response times to service requests are measured once a request is submitted via 5help email, phone, or the ServiceNow issue tracking system. Other forms of contact may affect the ability of MSPH IT to meet the requests in a timely fashion. Examples include: Direct emails and phone calls to individual support personnel.

Status Definitions with Initial Response Times

Critical - Within 30 minutes: Catastrophic inability to complete job duties. Example: computer does not turn on or boot up properly.
High - Within 2 business hours: Loss of a major job duty. Example: E-mail not working, not connected to internet, inability to print at all.
Medium - Within 4 business hours: There is a problem to be solved, but customer is still functional and has other options available. Example: Desktop printer is not working, but customer has access to departmental printers.
Normal - Within 8 business hours: General request for machine setup reformat or other tasks that are not time sensitive. Example: User needs help but will not be available until a few days later.

Specific Service Levels

At this time there are no service levels specific to the Standard Desktop Support service.  However, some tasks that require working with other IT departments within the Columbia University community have specific service level agreements.  Those tasks with specific SLAs are:

  • Domain Account request – 4 days

  • Exchange Email Account request – 10 days

  • P / O Drive request – 1 day

  • IP address change (Computer moves) – 5 days

  • New Computer IP address registration – 4 days

  • Network Port Activation – 6 days

  • New Network Port Installation – 10 Days

  • Firewall exception request – Incoming / Outgoing – 2 days

  • Internet Proxy Exclusion Request – 5 days

  • Bandwidth Exception Request – 2 days

Data Loss

If a Desktop Support tech loses client data through negligence – failure to properly backup a client computer, improper storage of encryption keys, etc. Desktop support will cover the cost of using a data recovery service, up to $1000.

Your Commitment to Us

The following requirements apply to clients receiving desktop support services:

  • Clients will submit requests for assistance by emailing, or by calling the help line at 212-305-4357, or 305-Help. Alternatively you may contact CUMC at

  • All requests for assistance must be accompanied by a help desk ticket, which is received by contacting CUMC IT’s Help Desk. Informal appeals for help to techs in passing cannot be honored because they unfairly delay support to those already in the ticket queue. Note: To eliminate confusion and provide more accurate support data, we recommend that clients open their own tickets and do not rely on an assistant or colleague to call 5help on their behalf.

  • Clients will provide access to supported computers either in-person or via remote assistance.

  • Clients will be available to support staff to answer questions that facilitate service delivery or service may be delayed or rescheduled.

  • Client-purchased equipment may need to be stored by client until scheduled time of deployment; Desktop Support cannot store client equipment.

  • Clients must provide proof of license when requesting a non standard software installation.

  • Clients will provide installation media for printer or peripheral device driver installation if needed.

  • Data from client devices that have been submitted for disposal or replaced with new devices is held for a maximum of two weeks. Therefore, clients should confirm that they have all their old data either backed up or on the new device  before requesting disposal of the old device.

  • Clients will submit requests to initiate data destruction and surplus/disposal of old equipment.

  • Clients honor any service appointment they request. If they must cancel, they should notify the technician via e-mail and provide at least two hours notice.

  • Clients will abide by computer use policies in force at the University and at the School, and understand that the technicians are required to do the same.

Boundaries of Service Features and Functions

Standard Desktop Support is available for computers that meet the following criteria:

  • Computer is compatible with standard operating system requirements.

  • PC computing devices have a TPM 1.2 security chip, or other similar security chip that enables the computer to be setup with pre-boot authentication. 

  • Device is running a Standard Operating System on the Mailman Supported Device List.

  • Technician has or can have administrative access on the device. This can be a local Mailman Desktop Support admin account or a domain account with admin access.

  • Desktop Support can re-image a computer when necessary to resolve an incident or complete a service request.

  • Desktop Support has the ability to remotely access the computer with the client’s authorization.