Information Security Policy Glossary

Below are definitions of key terms used in UC Berkeley's Information Security Policies. For a list of all policies, visit our A-Z Policy Catalog

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Administrative Official

See “Unit Head”

Application Coordinator

See “Service Manager”


A term used to collectively refer to IT Resources and Institutional Information (both defined in this glossary).


The process of verifying that an individual, entity, or application is who, or what, it claims to be. For example, this might involve validating personal identity documents, requiring a username and passphrase, biometric verification, or verifying the authenticity of a website with a digital certificate.

Availability Level

The degree to which Institutional Information and IT Resources must be accessible and operational to meet business needs. All UC Institutional Information and IT Resources are classified into one of four Availability Levels based on the level of business impact their loss of availability or service would have on UC, with A4 causing the highest level of impact and A1 causing a minimal level of impact.

Berkeley Campus Data

See “Institutional Information”

Berkeley IT Resources

See “IT Resources”


UC Berkeley


The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the senior executive responsible for information technology or information system functions throughout Campus.


The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is the role responsible for security functions throughout Campus, including assisting in the interpretation and application of information security policies.

Cloud Service

A cloud service is any service that is hosted remotely and provided over the Internet. For the purposes of UC Berkeley’s Minimum Security Standards (MSSND and MSSEI), a cloud service refers to any service hosted at a non-Campus location.


The Cyber-risk Responsible Executive (CRE) is an individual in a senior management or academic position who reports to the chancellor or top Campus executive. The CRE is accountable for all information risk assessments, security strategies, planning and budgeting, incident management, and information security implementation.

Critical IT Infrastructure

1. IT Resources that manage unrelated sets of Institutional Information or sets of large or particularly sensitive Institutional Information.

2. IT Resources that meet two conditions: a) Several information systems rely on the resource such that a security issue with the resource would affect multiple systems. b) The default or standard method for securing the system is inappropriate due to an elevated level of risk, complexity, or the specialized nature of the IT Resource

Data Custodian (legacy)

See “Service Provider”

Data Owner (legacy)

See "Institutional Information Proprietor"


See "Information Security Event"

FERPA-Protected Student Records

Student records protected under the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) include, but are not limited to:

  • Student ID

  • Transcripts (grades)

  • Exam papers

  • Test scores

  • Evaluations

  • Financial aid records

  • Loan collection records

  • Directory information for students who have requested that information about them not be released as public information

Student records are generally classified as Protection Level 3 (P3). See the Data Classification Policy for details and exceptions. UC Berkeley’s Office of the Registrar is the campus authority for FERPA.

Functional Account

(sometimes called a shared account) An account that can be accessed by multiple individuals to allow them to appear as a single business entity or accomplish a single shared function (e.g., “physics department” or “chancellor’s office"). SPAs are Functional Accounts. Auto logon systems that automatically log users in (e.g., kiosk1, guest1, etc.) should also be treated as functional accounts.

High Risk Data

Information classified at Protection Level 4 (P4)


See "Information Security Incident"

Individual Account

An account that is under the control of a specific individual and is not accessible to others.

Individual Devices

End-user workstations that do not meet the definition of "Privileged Access Devices" or "Institutional Devices"

Individually-Owned Data

Data which is defined as an individual’s own personal information that is not considered "Institutional Information"

Information Security Contact

Known informally (and historically) as "Security Contact". An Information Security Contact is a group of individuals who have been designated to receive and respond to security notices from UC Berkeley’s Information Security Office (ISO) for their department or for a specific set of IT Resources. Information Security Contacts must be associated with a Campus org node that rolls up to a Unit. They are accountable to their Unit Information Security Lead(s)

Information Security Event

An identified occurrence in a process, system, service or network state indicating a possible breach of information security policy, a possible breach of privacy policy, a failure of controls or a previously unknown situation that may be relevant to security. This also includes alerts and notifications. This definition is from the UC Information Security Incident Response Standard.

Information Security Incident

A compromise of the confidentiality (privacy), integrity or availability of Institutional Information in a material or reportable way, whether caused by unauthorized action or accident. (2) A single event or a series of unwanted or unexpected Information Security Events that have a significant probability of compromising business operations or threatening information security. Incidents are also called IT incidents, computer incidents, cyber incidents or security incidents. This definition is from the UC Information Security Incident Response Standard.


University of California

Institutional Devices

  • Devices that store 500 or more records of protected data -OR-

  • Servers that store, process or transmit protected data. This includes database servers, application servers, web front-end servers, back-up and storage systems and any systems that provide authentication, authorization or configuration management for those systems -OR-

  • Systems with stored credentials that access protected data in any of the above systems

Institutional Information

A term that broadly describes all data and information created, received and/or collected by UC relating to the activities or operations of the university, regardless of where the data is stored. Institutional Information does not include Individually-Owned Data.

Institutional Information Proprietor

The individual, group, committee, or board responsible for the Institutional Information and processes supporting a University function. Proprietor responsibilities include, but are not limited to: ensuring compliance with University policy regarding the classification, protection, access to, and release of information according to procedures established by UC, the Location, or the department, as applicable to the situation. Proprietors are also responsible for ensuring compliance with federal or state law or regulation. 

IT Resources

A term that broadly describes IT infrastructure, software, and/or hardware with computing and networking capability. This includes:

  • Any devices (UC-owned or personally owned) that store or access Institutional Information; 

  • Any devices used for UC business that are connected to UC systems or networks;

  • UC-provided IT services, regardless of where they are hosted.

IT Resource Proprietor

The individual responsible for the IT Resources and processes supporting a University function. Proprietor responsibilities include, but are not limited to: ensuring compliance with University policy regarding the classification, protection, access to, location, and disposition of IT Resources. Proprietors are also responsible for ensuring compliance with federal or state law or regulation. 

IT Service Provider

See “Service Provider”

IT Workforce Member

A Workforce Member who is assigned specific information technology (IT) duties or responsibilities. 

This applies to individuals working for the university in any capacity, whether paid or unpaid, including student employees, volunteers, and contingent workers.

Low Risk Data 

Information classified at Protection Level 2 (P2)

Minimal Risk Data

Information classified at Protection Level 1 (P1)

Moderate Risk Data

Information classified at Protection Level 3 (P3)

Notice-Triggering Information

See “Statutory Requirement for Notification” below.


A passphrase is a type of password. They are generally longer than a traditional password and can contain spaces in between words such as: "This May Be One Way To Remember".

Like a traditional password, a passphrase can also contain numbers and symbols, and does not have to be a proper sentence or grammatically correct. Traditional passwords generally do not have spaces while passphrases often have spaces and are longer than a typical random string of characters

Personnel Records

Academic Personnel Records include, but are not limited to: confidential academic review records, non-confidential academic review records and "personal" information (as defined in Section 160 of the Academic Personnel Manual [PDF]).

Staff Personnel Records (listed in Section 80 of the Personnel Policies for Staff Members) include, but are not limited to:

  • Home telephone number and home address

  • Spouse's or other relatives' names

  • Birth date

  • Citizenship

  • Income tax withholdings

  • Information relating to evaluation of performance

Academic and staff personnel records are generally classified as Protection Level 3 (P3). See the Data Classification Policy for details and exceptions.

Privileged Access Devices

Any device where credentials are used to provide privileged access (superuser, root, administrator, database administrator, or equivalent) to an institutional device. Physical, logical, and virtual devices included.

Privileged Account

An account used to configure or significantly change the behavior of a computing system, device, application or other aspect of the IT Resource or IT infrastructure. Privileged accounts include, but are not limited to, local administrator accounts, UNIX “root” accounts, Windows Administrator accounts, and device configuration accounts.


See “Institutional Information Proprietor” or “IT Resource Proprietor” as applicable.

Protected Data

A general term used to refer to information classified at Protection Level 2 (P2) or higher.

Protected Data Applications

Information systems that handle, store, or transmit institutional data restricted by laws and policies, or that handle institutional data classified as P2 or higher as defined by the Berkeley Data Classification Standard

Protection Level

An assigned number representing the level of protection needed for Institutional Information or an IT Resource. The scale goes from the minimum level of protection (Protection Level P1) to the highest level of protection (Protection Level P4) and is based on the potential harm resulting from unauthorized access, disclosure, loss of privacy, compromised integrity, or violation of external obligations.


See “Service Provider”

Public Directory Information

Information which may be disclosed to any party without the prior consent of the individual to whom the information pertains. This includes the following for academic and staff personnel, and students:

“Non-Personal” Academic Personnel Information as defined by APM-160

  • Name

  • Date of hire or separation

  • Current position title

  • Current rate of pay

  • Organizational unit assignment including office address and 
telephone number

  • Full-time, part-time, or other employment status

Staff personnel records designated as "public information" in Section 80 of the Personnel Policies for Staff Members

  • Name

  • Date of hire

  • Current position title

  • Current salary

  • Organizational unit assignment

  • Date of separation

  • Office address and office telephone number

  • Current job description

  • Full-time or part-time, and appointment type

Student Directory Data (unless the student has requested that such information not be disclosed)

  • Student's name

  • Address (local, permanent, billing, e-mail)

  • Telephone number (local, permanent)

  • Date and place of birth

  • Major field of study

  • Dates of attendance

  • Class level (e.g., freshman, sophomore)

  • Enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full time or part time)

  • Number of course units in which enrolled

  • Degrees and honors received

  • Most recent previous educational institution attended

  • Participation in officially recognized activities, including intercollegiate athletics

  • Name, weight, and height of participants on intercollegiate athletic teams 

Public Information

Information intended to be available to the public with no access restrictions

Recovery Level

An assigned number representing the urgency to restore the availability or functionality of Institutional Information or IT Recources after a disruption. The scale goes from the minimum level of urgency, Recovery Level RL1, to the highest level of urgency, Recovery Level RL5.

Recovery Level is formally defined in IS-12, UC's Systemwide IT Recovery Policy (Sec 4.2). At UC Berkeley, Recovery Levels are identified in partnership between the IT Resource Proprietor(s) and the Service Provider, and are based on the functional requirements of the service.

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

The length of time allowed to restore business processes to a defined level of service following a disruption.


UC faculty members, students or affiliates, including Principal Investigators, conducting research on behalf of UC. A Researcher is also a Workforce Member.

Resource Custodian

See “Service Provider”

Resource Proprietor

See “IT Resource Proprietor”

Risk Acceptance

Risk acceptance is the process of deciding whether a risk is within the tolerances acceptable to an organization. This determination must take into consideration both the likelihood and impact of a negative event, the combination of which represents the “risk". In the context of information security, impacts may include:

  • Loss of critical Campus operations

  • Negative financial impact (breach response costs, money lost, lost opportunities, value of the data)

  • Damage to the reputation of the Institution

  • Risk of harm to individuals (such as in the case of a breach of personal information)

  • Potential for regulatory or legal action

  • Requirement for corrective actions or repairs

  • Violation of University of California or UC Berkeley mission, policy, or principles

Risk acceptance is one component of risk management, along with risk avoidance, risk mitigation, risk sharing, and risk transfer[1], and must occur at the level of campus authority that matches the potential risks. [1] NIST SP 800-39, Sec 3.3 (Activities, Task 3-1)

Security Contact

See “Information Security Contact”

Security Lead

See “Unit Information Security Lead”

Service Account

Accounts intended for automated processes such as running batch jobs or applications.

Service Manager

A Service Manager has overall accountability for defining a service, application, or system, ensuring services are delivered in accordance with agreed business requirements, and managing the service lifecycle. 

Service Provider

Any UC group or organization providing IT services to one or more campus Units, including their own Unit. Synonyms: Data Custodian, Resource Custodian, Provider

Shared Account

See "Functional Account"


If a data or system compromise would cause further and extensive compromise from multiple (even unrelated) sensitive systems, the data or system creating this "shared-fate" warrants an elevated Protection Level of P4. 

Statutory Requirement for Notification

California State Civil Code 1798.29 and other legal statues, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), require notification to individuals in the event of a security breach of certain personal information. The Berkeley campus also refers to this data as "notice-triggering" information: 

  • Social security number

  • Government issued identification numbers

    • Driver's license number. California identification card number, tax identification number, passport number, military identification number, or other unique identification number issued on a government document commonly used for identity verification

  • Financial account numbers, credit or debit card numbers, and financial account security codes, access codes, or passwords

  • Personal medical information*

  • Personal health insurance information*

  • Biometric data used for authentication purposes, including photographs used or stored for facial recognition purposes

  • A username or email address, in combination with a password or security question and answer that would permit access to an online account

  • Information or data collected through the use or operation of an automated license plate recognition system

  • Separate but related is personal information under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

  • Genetic data as defined by California AB-825 (effective 1/1/2022)

* California State Civil Code 1798.29 applies to personal medical information and personal health insurance information even under circumstances not covered by HIPAA. See section (h) for definitions under this law.


An external, third-party entity that provides goods or services to UC. These goods and services can include consulting services, hardware, integration services, software, systems, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and other cloud services. Non-UC entities that operate IT Resources or handle Institutional Information are considered Suppliers. Also see UC BFB IS-3 Electronic Information Security, Section 15 for additional information about Supplier relationships. 

Synonym: Vendor

Traffic Light Protocol

The Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) was created to facilitate greater sharing of information. TLP is a set of designations used to ensure that sensitive information is shared with appropriate audiences. TLP uses four colors to define sharing boundaries to be applied by the recipient(s) indicating when and how sensitive information can be shared, and by facilitating more frequent and effective collaboration.


In the context of information security, a Unit is a Campus academic or administrative entity led by a Campus appointed Unit Head with budgetary authority and resources of a level sufficient to accept and manage the organization’s information security risk. Units are the point of accountability and responsibility for Institutional Information and IT Resources. At UC Berkeley, the organizational level of a Unit in this context is Dean, VC, or AVC. Delegation is allowed if the delegation is explicit and includes budget and resources necessary to accept and manage information security risk at the delegated level, including covering an adverse information security event such as a data breach or system compromise.

Unit Head

Unit Heads are the executives accountable and responsible for overseeing the execution of UC and Campus information security policies within the Unit. At UC Berkeley, the default level of a Unit Head in this context is Dean, VC, AVC, or other accountable executive in a senior role who is responsible for Unit performance and administration. Delegation is allowed if it is explicit, documented, and the delegate has the budget and resources necessary to manage information security risk, including an adverse information security event such as a data breach or system compromise. 

Unit Information Security Lead (UISL)

Known informally as "Security Lead". A term for the Workforce Member(s) appointed by the Unit Head and assigned responsibility for ensuring tactical execution of information security activities including, but not limited to: implementing security controls; reviewing and updating risk assessments; devising procedures for the proper handling, storing and disposing of electronic media within the Unit; and reviewing access rights. These activities are performed in consultation with the Unit Head.

User Account

See "Individual Account"


Individuals who access and use campus Institutional Information and IT Resources.


See “Supplier”

Workforce Manager

A person who supervises or manages other personnel or approves work or research on behalf of Campus. 

Workforce Member

An employee, faculty, staff, volunteer, contractor, researcher, student worker, student supporting/performing research, medical center staff/personnel, clinician, student intern, student volunteer or person working for UC in any capacity or through any other augmentation to UC staffing levels.