Policy for Tablet and Smart Device Funding and Connectivity

Policy for Tablet & Smart Device Funding & Connectivity
(FAS & Central Administration)

Policy Statement

  1. Harvard University IT (HUIT) will support access to HUIT email systems for Harvard-owned and personal mobile devices (phones, tablets, and other smart devices) that use a compatible operating system and comply with security standards described below.

  2. In the FAS and Central Administration, tablets (iPads, etc.) for staff use will continue to be ineligible for Harvard funding unless an exception is approved (by a Tub or Divisional Dean or their designee for FAS or a VP and the Assistant Vice President for Central Finance and Administration on behalf of the EVP for Central Administration). See Tablet Request Form for Staff.

  3. Faculty purchase of tablets for valid University purposes requires appropriate funding but does not require the Tablet Request Form.

  4. Smart watches or other new smart devices (other than the devices mentioned above) are ineligible for any Harvard funding.

Please also refer to the University Staff Mobile Phone Policy.

Reason for Policy

HUIT and the finance teams for the FAS and Central Administration are committed to developing policies that keep pace with new technology products and how they are used, ensuring security for the University’s systems and data, and supporting the prudent use of Harvard resources.

Who Must Comply

  1. Access to HUIT email systems: All Harvard University schools, tubs, local units, Affiliate Institutions, Allied Institutions, and University-wide Initiatives whose users connect to those systems must comply.

  2. Harvard funding: All staff in the FAS and Central Administration

  3. Faculty purchase: All faculty in the FAS




HUIT will permit access to Harvard email for Harvard-owned and personal devices using the following operating systems:

  • Blackberry OS version 10.0 or higher

  • Apple iOS version 8.0 or higher

  • Android 4.0 or higher

  • Microsoft Surface Windows 8.1 or higher (if used as a secondary, not primary, device)

The operating system versions above are specified in order to provide the basic minimum requirement for information security. To avoid problems with email and calendar systems, HUIT strongly recommends the latest HUIT-supported operating system available for the mobile device in use.

Please note that while connectivity will be supported for qualified personal devices, additional support will be provided only for Harvard-owned devices.

Connectivity & Security


Web access to email, calendar, and other resources is permitted via any device. For direct access to email, HUIT will assist in the configuration of tablets and mobile devices to comply with the following requirements. (For more information, visit the Harvard Information Security website.)

  • All devices (Harvard-funded or personal) are required to have a password (minimum of 4 digits, changed every 12 months) and must timeout/screen lock after a maximum of five minutes. See password rules.

  • All devices must be fully encrypted or have the capability for a secure container for Harvard-related data.

  • When possible, remote wipe must be enabled and implemented. If the device is lost, the user is required to follow the University policy for reporting lost or stolen devices.

Most devices that comply with the operating system requirements noted above can be configured to meet these requirements. Please contact HUIT at 617-495-7777 for assistance.

Responsibilities & Contacts


  • HUIT is responsible for providing connectivity according to the guidelines in this document.

  • Administrators are responsible for adhering to the funding guidelines described in this document.

  • Faculty and staff are responsible for adhering to University and HUIT security guidelines.


HUIT Support Center: 617-495-7777


“Mobile devices” are tablets, smart phones, and watches. (Please note that the Microsoft Surface is subject to this policy when used as a secondary, not primary, device. If an individual chooses to use a Surface instead of a laptop or desktop, the device should be set up by HUIT and will be subject to policies and guidelines covering PCs and laptops.)

Related Resources

University Staff Mobile Phone Policy

Revision History

This policy has been updated annually.


Additional Guidelines

  1. Devices should be used for their full useful life (generally two years for tablets and mobile phones). Mobile devices must not be used to store or access HRCI (high-risk confidential information).

  2. The cost of mobile devices and plans is generally the responsibility of the individual. Please see the University Staff Mobile Phone Policy. Harvard does not normally reimburse individuals for home Internet access. Faculty should work with their department administrator regarding the appropriateness of mobile devices and plans.

  3. Mobile Device and Tablet accessories are the responsibility of the individual.

Tablet Request Form for Staff

Download policy and Tablet Request Form for Staff