The user is the reason for the existence of any network. In many way they will dictate how a network is to function by providing explanation of their need of what they need to achieve with it. As the user's knowledge of the networked environment grows, so to do the users demands on the network. The user can be seen as vital to the network and an experienced user can come to expect much from the network yet it is clear that a balance of rights and expectations against responsibilities must exist. These rights, expectations and responsibilities will now be examined.


  • Freedom from undesirable events such as malicious and accidental misuse from other users or outside entities
  • No hackers
  • Virus free operation
  • Up to date software
  • Up to date hardware
  • Downtime so minimal as to have little to no impact at all
  • Reliable storage of data
  • Backups taken at regular intervals
  • Technical support, although users who attempt to replace skill, knowledge, effort or ability with the popular alternative of "annoy the help desk" can also expect rather curt responses.

In short, the user must be able to expect the network to operate efficiently, consistently and reliably.


"Social engineering: Term used among crackers and samurai for cracking techniques that rely on weaknesses in wetware rather than software; the aim is to trick people into revealing passwords or other information that compromises a target system's security. Classic scams include phoning up a mark who has the required information and posing as a field service tech or a fellow employee with an urgent access problem."  (Jargon File)

A user of a network has a large and vital set of responsibilities that clearly compliment and explain those of the network manager. The user must be made aware that login and logout procedures are there not because some perverse power trip or as an authoritarian control technique but as a method of protecting the network and thus the data and users of the network.

There is a prescribed process that has been laid out that defines what is acceptable use of the network and what constitutes acceptable behaviour. With this is a set of managerial guidelines that explain what to do in certain eventualities like forgotten passwords or access denied problems. These too are there to protect the user from "people hacking" or social engineering.

The user should therefore be expected: 

  • To understand own role in network security 
  • To log off correctly 
  • To be sufficiently competent to be able to use a PC 

And to follow good passwords policies such as:

Although it is not always readily apparent it is vital that users be made aware of their responsibilities while using the network as in most cases now the greatest threat to network security is the untrained user.

See Also: Network Manager and An introductory guide to networks

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