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Information for new staff using the Administrative Computing Network

As a new user of the Administrative Computing network (ACN), we would like to bring to your attention the responsibilities you have in helping to protect University of Cambridge information.

University Information Services (UIS) and the University have security and proper-use policies to which staff should adhere. All users, at time of employment, have signed necessary documentation certifying their agreement to abide by the provided policies.

Security of the ACN, and of the University of Cambridge in general, should be a prime concern for all staff and users are reminded that they must not divulge the passwords of any of their computer accounts to another person, including fellow staff members.

Any action taken on the computer network within a member of staff's account is the responsibility of that member of staff.  By passing on password information, a user may become liable for unacceptable activity on the network that has been undertaken by a third party.

Passwords should be treated as private and confidential, in a similar fashion to bank account details or cash card PINs, and you are reminded that the University considers it a disciplinary offence to divulge your password at any time.

Considering the confidential nature of so much of the data used daily throughout the ACN, relating to finance, grants, staff, the student body and so forth, we expect that staff will see the importance of following good security practices at all times.

Setting your password

The current password lifetime is 80 days. Your office PC will start to display reminders on the lower-right of your desktop that your password is due to expire 14 days in advance. However, if you are only accessing ACN services externally, you may not receive reminders and might need to schedule regular password changes instead.

  • To change your password on a PC, press the CTRL+ALT+DELETE keys together, then click on the option to change your password from the list that appears on screen. You will need to enter your old password and your new password twice; your new password needs to be complex.

The rules for password complexity will be familiar to most users, as they are enforced by many commercial and banking applications. Your password must:

  • not contain your account name or parts of your full name that exceed two consecutive characters
  • be at least eight characters in length
  • contain a mix of characters from at least three of the following four categories:
    • English uppercase characters (A through Z)
    • English lowercase characters (a through z)
    • Digits (0 through 9)
    • Non-alphabetic characters (e.g. !, $, #, %)

Note: You will not be able to re-use any of your previous five passwords.

Password tip 1: Consider using unrelated words linked by underscores (_) or the first letters of words in a meaningful phrase, e.g. Pink_Sun1 or MfDnwL10! (from My first Dog’s name was Lassie 10!)

Password tip 2: It is recommended that passwords are changed during UIS Service Desk support hours and that any mobile devices that use your account details be updated at the same time. UIS has seen occurrences where a mobile device using the old password causes the account to be locked out, by issuing multiple invalid attempts.

If you are away from your office PC, but need to change your password, you can do so via:

The change password procedure on this website is the same as given above, though you will need to enter your username as well.

General Security

When leaving your PC for a period of time (e.g. to attend a meeting, take a tea break, etc), it is advisable to lock your computer.  You can do this by pressing the Windows+L keys together.  When you return, press CTRL+ALT+DEL together and enter your password to go back to your desktop. Workstations on the ACN will lock automatically after being idle for 20 minutes.

When you finish work for the day, you should shut down your PC using this procedure:

  • Save all open work as necessary and close all applications.
  • Click on the  Start button at the lower-left of your PC taskbar and then on  Shut down
    If you cannot see Shut down, clicking on the right-arrow will give you further options that will include Shut down. 

Your PC will now run through its shut down procedure.  Please wait whilst this occurs, as it may take a few minutes. Please do not switch off the computer at the plug or by holding the PC power button, especially when it is in the process of shutting down. Once the computer has shut down, you should switch off the monitor as well.

Please note that some PCs are scheduled to shut down automatically. At this point, however, some might bring up a dialogue box containing the notice ‘It is now safe to turn off your computer’. When this dialogue box appears, it is safe to switch off the PC.

Remember to follow this procedure each time a PC is shut down, to help cut down on PC system issues. By not allowing a PC to go through its complete shutdown process, damage to both software and hardware can occur.

Information is available regarding data storage and available drive space on the ACN.

Email Redirection via @cam

All University of Cambridge staff and students are eligible for a standard email address in the format This address may then set to redirect email to one of the departmental mail services within the University, such as the UIS-managed mail domain.


Once you have your Raven account password, please click on and sign in with your Raven credentials.

Click on Your page.  This will take you to a page with information about you, most of which you are free to modify. In order to set your @cam delivery address, click the Edit button at the bottom of the screen.

On the new page, scroll down to @cam delivery address and type your email address, in the format, into the Value field. Click on Save and you should now see your @cam delivery address listed on your main information page.  Please make sure it is set correctly; you can change it whenever necessary.

Changing your inclusion in the University’s public directory

The University of Cambridge provides an online email directory, which is searchable from anywhere in the world. You are not automatically included in this directory because the Data Protection Act requires an opt-in system. If you are not already in the directory, but wish to be, please read on.

This is a Raven-protected page; you will need to log on with your Raven username and password. Once you have done that, you will see a page that shows your CRSid and its affiliation. If the details shown are not yours you must select Cancel, otherwise select Continue....  From the page saying whether your address is currently included or not, select the button to change the status.

Links to other useful information

University Information Services' IT Help and Support website:

Junk email:

Email etiquette:

Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Display Screen Equipment (VDUs) in the University of Cambridge:

Data Protection Act:

University Information Services' departmental website:

Phone transparent  Service status line: (01223) 463085
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Getting help

UIS Service Desk
General support queries

  Phone transparent  (01223 7) 62999

UAS Service Desk
Administrative staff queries

  Phone transparent  (01223 3) 32999

Other IT service desks