Stake tech spec access to MLS

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
User avatar
ihenpecked
New Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:52 pm

Stake tech spec access to MLS

Postby ihenpecked » Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:04 am

I have a bishop is who is concerned about granting administrative access to our stake technology specialist into his unit's MLS. He's worried about confidentiality breaches and violating protocol. Is this against church protocol? We do it so we can easily update MLS without difficulty.

jdlessley
Community Moderators
Posts: 6526
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:30 pm
Location: USA, TX

Postby jdlessley » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:29 pm

This issue should be discussed between your bishop and the stake president. Be aware that if the STS does not have admin rights in MLS then there may be a need for someone with admin rights to be available to assist the STS when doing maintenance or upgrades. Of course a well trained ward clerk doing all the MLS maintenance and upgrades considerably reduces the necessity of the STS accessing MLS.

Regarding Church protocol and confidentiality- the STS is normally an assistant stake clerk. If the stake president follows the Church Handbook of Instructions when considering a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder for the calling, the issue of confidentiality of information has already been addressed.

Here is a quote from the Church Handbook of Instructions (Book1, p141, Assistant Stake Clerks - Computers):
[The stake technology specialist] should not access the confidential records of membership or financial systems except as requested by the bishop or stake president.
The STS should be aware of this instruction. If not, then he may need to be reminded by the stake president.

User avatar
aebrown
Community Administrator
Posts: 14691
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:48 pm
Location: Sandy, Utah

Postby aebrown » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:36 pm

ihenpecked wrote:I have a bishop is who is concerned about granting administrative access to our stake technology specialist into his unit's MLS. He's worried about confidentiality breaches and violating protocol. Is this against church protocol? We do it so we can easily update MLS without difficulty.


Actually, what is against Church protocol is NOT giving the stake technology specialist access to MLS. The stake technology specialist is an assistant stake clerk, called by the stake president and selected not only for technical expertise, but also for worthiness and confidentiality.

The Using MLS--Stake and District Instructions say

System Administrator. An MLS system administrator must be assigned by the stake president. The system administrator maintains the list of MLS users and controls the security rights for those users. When MLS is installed at the wards, it is recommended that a stake administrator also be given a system administration account on the ward level. This will allow someone from the stake to assist the ward as necessary.

jdlessley
Community Moderators
Posts: 6526
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:30 pm
Location: USA, TX

Postby jdlessley » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:21 pm

Alan_Brown is correct. However, I do want to point out that "a stake administrator also be given a system administration account on the ward level" is a recommendation and not a requirement. The reasons are clear enough to give the STS admin rights. The best reason is to keep the service calls to the GSD down and the expertise to fix "routine" issues at the lowest level possible.

After reading my post I figured I needed to add some information to give a better picture of this post and my previous post.
An MLS system administrator must be assigned by the stake president.
Our stake president interprets this to mean that each unit, ward and stake, that has a computer with MLS installed will have a system administrator. His call is that it will be either the ward clerk and/or the bishop for the ward and the stake clerk for the stake.

When MLS is installed at the wards, it is recommended that a stake administrator also be given a system administration account on the ward level.
I think the experience in many stakes is that this falls on the stake technology specialist due to his responsibilities. I do know of two stakes that have an "MLS specialist" calling and the STS does not get involved.

My experience in fulfulling my calling as an STS is that the recommendation to give the STS admin rights has helped me solve many issues in a timely manner. I have never had to access confidential records when working with a unit's computer.

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 20754
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Postby russellhltn » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:11 pm

This looks to be an issue that can go either way. I don't see anything in the material quoted or any thing else I know of that definitively decides this.

There's nothing that says that the STS must have access and yet it says the STS is not to access the confidential records without permission which suggests it's OK for him to have the ability to access them. I do know there used to be a computer policy that the Stake Clerk over Computers (before it was changed to STS) was to have the building keys and the passwords necessary to maintain the computers. But that was old policy and no longer in effect.

As pointed out, the STS is an assistant stake clerk, so one would hope that he's responsible enough to do his calling properly without doing anything improper with member's information.

I do know that as a STS it's nice to have the keys and the password as it allows me to swing by to check on the computer when I'm in the area without having to coordinate with a clerk or bishopric member. It also allows me to fix the computers faster. It is necessary for the STS to some how be able to get into MLS to test the send/receive function since that's the source of many complaints. That can be done by having someone with MLS admin rights be there with him, but that's extra work.

But bottom line I think this is up to the local leadership. Specifically with the Stake President since he's the one in charge of the STS, the computers and the Bishops.

User avatar
aebrown
Community Administrator
Posts: 14691
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:48 pm
Location: Sandy, Utah

STS access to MLS

Postby aebrown » Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:16 am

RussellHltn wrote:There's nothing that says that the STS must have access and yet it says the STS is not to access the confidential records without permission which suggests it's OK for him to have the ability to access them. I do know there used to be a computer policy that the Stake Clerk over Computers (before it was changed to STS) was to have the building keys and the passwords necessary to maintain the computers. But that was old policy and no longer in effect.


I'll agree with only about half of this. The current (2006) Handbook of Instructions, Book 1, says on page 141:

The stake presidency assigns an assistant stake clerk to be the stake technology specialist (the stake clerk could be given this assignment if necessary). This clerk has the following responsibilities for managing Church computers in the stake, including those in family history centers:

... He orders, installs, supports, and arranges for repairs to Church computers. He should have appropriate passwords to all Church computers and software in the stake.


The statement that the STS should have password access to all Church computers and software in the stake seems pretty clear -- far stronger than the mere recommendation in the Using MLS-Stake and District Instructions document. And of course the Handbook supersedes that other document in authority as well. As I read it, there can be no debate if you want to follow the current policy statement in the Handbook -- the STS should have password access to MLS.

I have a vague recollection that some former policy statement said that the STS should have physical access to the computers (but I can't locate any such old policy statement). It is indeed correct that this is not included in the 2006 Handbook. As a practical matter, I believe most stakes provide that physical access so that he can fulfill all the other explicit responsibilities, but it is up to the stake president how the STS is enabled to fulfill his calling.

User avatar
aebrown
Community Administrator
Posts: 14691
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:48 pm
Location: Sandy, Utah

Postby aebrown » Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:23 am

jdlessley wrote:the STS is normally an assistant stake clerk. [emphasis added]


Actually, according to the policy on p. 141 of Book 1, the STS is always an assistant stake clerk or the stake clerk himself. There is no "normally" or "usually" or "recommended" in the statement, "The stake presidency assigns an assistant stake clerk to be the stake technology specialist (the stake clerk could be given this assignment if necessary)."

User avatar
aebrown
Community Administrator
Posts: 14691
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:48 pm
Location: Sandy, Utah

Postby aebrown » Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:16 am

jdlessley wrote:I do know of two stakes that have an "MLS specialist" calling and the STS does not get involved.


The STS may not get involved in daily support in this scenario, but still remains responsible. It is clear that anyone involved in supporting or managing computers or software in the stake should take direction from the STS. From page 141 of Book 1:

The stake technology specialist . . . supervises and instructs others who help manage Church computers.

jdlessley
Community Moderators
Posts: 6526
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:30 pm
Location: USA, TX

Postby jdlessley » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:26 pm

Well ihenpecked, does all this bantering answer your original post?


Return to “MLS Support, Help, and Feedback”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest