Access to HBS networks, applications, computers, and other electronic resources (“the Resources”) is a privilege. HBS reserves the right to revoke access at any time at its sole discretion. Access is contingent upon continued proper use of the Resources and continued adherence to applicable law, this policy, and other HBS and Harvard University policies.

Various forms of computer misconduct are prohibited by federal and state law and are therefore subject to criminal and civil penalties. Such misconduct includes:

  • knowingly gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or database,
  • falsely obtaining electronic services or data without payment of required charges,
  • intentionally intercepting electronic communications,
  • and obtaining, altering, or destroying others’ electronic information.

Similarly, serious legal penalties may result from the use of HBS Resources to violate copyright laws.

A student may be held responsible for misuse that occurs by allowing a third party access to their computer, account, or network connection.

Key Policies & Guidelines

Authorized Use

A student is personally responsible for ensuring that use of the Resources accessed with their username and password is appropriate and complies with all HBS and Harvard University policies. To protect one’s privacy—as well as confidential information on the HBS network—students should not disclose account password(s) to anyone, including family or friends.

When using software, it is a student’s responsibility to learn about and abide by any terms that may be applicable to the use of that software.

Privacy Policy

A student should treat information or communications they receive from HBS students, staff, and faculty as private and use it only for the purpose(s) specified or intended.

HBS, its employees, representatives, contractors, or agents may access, monitor, disclose, or use any information stored or maintained in the Resources, or authorize others to do the same in the following circumstances:

  • As required by law
  • In response to a subpoena or other compulsory legal process
  • When necessary to ensure compliance with HBS or University policies
  • To maintain or prevent damage to the Resources
  • To maintain the operation and security of the Resources

Please be aware that:

  • Because student and participant data privacy settings may change at any time, a student may not compile information made available by others through the Resources, such as the HBS Classcards, Canvas, CPD website, 12twenty, Alumni Directory, or other HBS online resources. Furthermore, information downloaded through or from the Resources is intended for personal use and should not be shared with others, including those who share the same level of access.
  • Information gathered from the Resources, including community members' contact information, may not be redistributed in any form outside of HBS — including to businesses operated by members of the HBS community—without express written permission from HBS.
  • Intercepting or otherwise viewing information or communications not intended for you, or redistributing the communications of others, may constitute a violation of law and/or a violation of HBS or Harvard University policies.

When using computers or other devices in public spaces, a student should be aware of the limitations to their privacy, and exercise caution and discretion in viewing only those materials appropriate in the setting.


All Harvard University users must respect the copyrights in works that are accessible through computers connected to the Harvard network.

Federal copyright law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display, or public performance of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner, unless fair use or another exemption under copyright law applies.

In appropriate circumstances, Harvard will terminate the network access of users who are found to have repeatedly infringed the copyrights of others (e.g., via platforms such as BitTorrent), and may also take disciplinary action.

Students with questions about copyright or this policy are invited to raise those questions with an appropriate faculty member or the MBA Program.

Standards for Electronic Communication & Interaction

HBS is committed to freedom of expression. All members of the HBS Community benefit from the open expression of ideas and opinions. However, HBS will not tolerate:

  • electronic communication that is disruptive, obscene, harassing, defaming, or otherwise contributes to a hostile environment,
  • the creation or use of an alias or any other mechanism to misrepresent or obfuscate one’s identity, or
  • the impersonation of another user.

HBS reserves the right to take any reasonable actions to protect the learning environment from such conduct. The same degree of respect and standards of conduct are expected in the use of email and other electronic communication as in any other form of communication. In addition, the "" domain identifies the user as a member of the HBS community and the user’s activity online reflects not only on their own professionalism, but also on the reputation of the school.

Communications with Large Groups

To avoid email overload, email communications should be tailored to a specific purpose and targeted to an appropriate audience. To communicate with large groups, a student should use HBS collaboration tools (e.g., Sharesites) that minimize email or use existing distribution lists (e.g., listservs) created by HBS. These tools should be used only for their specified purposes and targeted audiences. Be aware that use of external collaboration tools (e.g., Google Docs) risks wider distribution of materials intended for a specific group.

Use of Networking and Social Media Tools

To ensure that all students and program participants are comfortable engaging fully in all aspects of the learning environment at HBS, all members of the HBS community must adhere to policies and uphold the Community Values of respect, honesty, integrity, and personal accountability when using networking and social media tools. When using such tools, a student must:

  • Preserve the integrity of the HBS learning environment by not publishing or distributing case materials to anyone outside of the HBS community. (See the copyright policies of both HBS Information Technology and Harvard University relative to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.)
  • Respect HBS' reputation and the privacy of fellow students, program participants, staff, and faculty.
  • Ensure that any use of the HBS logos, names, or images adheres to the School's stated brand and style guide.

Use of Computers and Wireless Devices in the Classroom

Generally, computers and other wireless devices should be turned off and stored during class, except such computers or devices that are approved accommodations for students with disabilities, or as otherwise permitted by the faculty member.

Media/Reporters in the HBS Learning Environment

  • In order to preserve the integrity of HBS educational processes, the School does not allow reporters and camera crews to attend classes or participate in other learning activities.
  • Students may not serve either formally or informally as reporters or correspondents for off-campus publications or news media of any kind.
  • Audio or video recording, still photography, and filming inside HBS buildings — including, but not limited to, classrooms, dormitories, Spangler Center, Baker Library, Morgan, Baker Hall, McArthur, the Chapel, and Chao — by third parties is not allowed unless permission is obtained from the HBS Marketing & Communications Office.
  • For more information, please review the HBS Media Guidelines.

Video & Audio Recording of Classroom Activities by Students

Please consult the Classroom Recording Policy.

Commercial Enterprises and Other Outside Activities

A student may not use the HBS community or its Resources when acting on behalf of outside organizations. This includes sending a message to the student body to sell or solicit information or services and/or sending a solicitous message on behalf of an outside business.

Harvard University Policy on Access to Electronic Information

Effective March 31, 2014, Harvard established a policy that sets out guidelines and processes for University access to user electronic information stored in or transmitted through any university system. This policy applies to all Schools and units of the University.