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arrowHome arrow Windows arrow Support Tiers Saturday, 19 August 2017  
CAT Support Tiers: An Overview Print
Monday, 19 September 2005

The CAT provides three general levels of workstation support, called "support tiers," or just "tiers." Roughly, the tier system answers the question of "who manages this computer?"

What the "Tiers" Cover:
The "support tiers" concept refers to support we provide for desktop workstations on the Windows, Linux, or Solaris Unix platforms. Specific arrangements (particularly of Tier 2 systems) depend on the type of operating system and the intended use. This overview doesn't cover all possible system configurations.

Laptops: We are unable to provide Tier 1/2 support to laptops.  By their reliance on our Network and Servers, Tier 2 supported systems must be on our wired network and on/accessible at all times.  A laptop is by definition a Tier 3 system.  (See below)

Tier 1: "Full Support" -- CAT Supported, CAT Managed:
This tier covers systems fully managed by the CAT and it is the preferred tier for systems we deploy. Examples include systems in CAT computer labs and many staff or faculty systems that we deploy and manage. The CAT handles deploying, upgrading, and patching these systems. CAT sysadmins are the only people with administrator access. Users have full access to CAT-provided resources like home directories, file servers, applications, and printing.

Tier 2: "Co-Managed" -- CAT Supported, CAT & User Co-Managed:
We strongly discourage using your administrator account for daily tasks such as email, web browsing and running programs. Logging in as an administrator leaves your computer  more vulnerable to attacks and infections. We recommend only using  this account when it is needed for installs and other actions that require administrative privileges. While this may seem cumbersome, it is the best practice to avoid security vulnerabilities.

With Windows 7 and above, users may not even need to fully log in as an Administrator. Instead, Tasks that require Administrative privileges will prompt for administrator login information. Alternatively, right clicking a program and selecting “run as administrator” will bring up a prompt to provide your Admin login.

Linux/Unix Tier 2: because of reasons that can't be avoided, TheCAT no longer offers Tier 2 loads for Linux and Solaris systems.

Caveat: Because users have admin access they can break Tier 2 systems, and therefore must be more careful and aware of their actions. In most cases the CAT can only "fix" broken Tier 2 systems by reloading them from scratch. As with Tier 3 systems (below), compromised systems may be removed from the Maseeh College network.  Make sure you have read our Tier 2 Disclaimer.

Tier 3: "User-Supported" -- CAT Networking, User Managed:
This tier covers systems fully managed by the owner/user. Examples include personally-owned systems, most laptops, and some research systems. The CAT only provides network access (an IP address and Internet access) for the system. The user/owner does everything else: deploying, upgrading, patching, general management.

Caveat: To maintain network security, the CAT may disable the network access to Tier 3 systems that show evidence of being compromised (infected with viruses/worms).

When a New System Is Deployed...

Hopefully this document gives you a basic understanding of what kind of support tier you think you'd like. If you need a new system deployed (or are providing one yourself), you can submit a form at:
 and request networking at:


Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 October 2015 )

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