Stanford has classified its information assets into risk based categories for the purpose of determining who is allowed to access the information and what security precautions must be taken to protect it against unauthorized access.
As of May 2015, a new set of classifications has been established and is now in effect for Stanford data and systems: Low Risk, Moderate Risk, and High Risk. The former framework - Prohibited, Restricted, Confidential, and Unrestricted - will be phased out by January 2016.
Special note to Stanford researchers: Except for regulated data such as protected health information (PHI), Social Security Numbers, and financial account numbers, research data and systems predominately fall into the Low Risk classification. Review the classification definitions and examples below to determine the appropriate risk level to apply.
Data and systems are classified as Low Risk if they are not considered to be Moderate or High Risk, and:
- The data is intended for public disclosure, or
- The loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the data or system would have no adverse impact on our mission, safety, finances or reputation.
Data and systems are classified as Moderate Risk if they are not considered to be High Risk, and:
- The data is not generally available to the public, or
- The loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the data or system could have a mildly adverse impact on our mission, safety, finances or reputation.
Data and systems are classified as High Risk if:
- Protection of the data is required by law/regulation,
- Stanford is required to self-report to the government and/or provide notice to the individual if the data is inappropriately accessed, or
- The loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the data or system could have a significant adverse impact on our mission, safety, finances or reputation.
Data Risk Classification Examples
Use the examples below to determine which risk classification is appropriate for a particular type of data. When mixed data falls into multiple risk categories, use the highest risk classification across all.
- Research data (at data owner's discretion)
- SUNet IDs
- Information authorized to be available on or through Stanford's website without SUNet ID authentication
- Policy and procedure manuals designated by the owner as public
- Job postings
- University contact information not designated by the individual as "private" in StanfordYou
- Information in the public domain
- Publicly available campus maps
- Unpublished research data (at data owner's discretion)
- Student records and admission applications
- Faculty/staff employment applications, personnel files, benefits, salary, birth date, personal contact information
- Non-public Stanford policies and policy manuals
- Non-public contracts
- Stanford internal memos and email, non-public reports, budgets, plans, financial info
- University and employee ID numbers
- Project/task/award (PTA) numbers
- Engineering, design and operational information regarding Stanford infrastructure
- Health Information, including Protected Health Information (PHI)
- Health Insurance policy ID numbers
- Social Security Numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Financial account numbers
- Export controlled information under U.S. laws
- Driver's license numbers
- Passport and visa numbers
- Donor contact information and non-public gift information
Server Risk Classification Examples
A server is defined as a host that provides a network accessible service.
- Servers used for research computing purposes without involving Moderate or High risk data
- File server used to store published public data
- Database server containing SUNetIDs only
- Servers handling Moderate Risk Data
- Database of non-public University contracts
- File server containing non-public procedures/documentation
- Server storing student records
- Servers handling High Risk Data
- Servers managing access to other systems
- University IT and departmental email systems
- Active Directory
Application Risk Classification Examples
An application is defined as software running on a server that is network accessible.
- Applications handling Low Risk Data
- Online maps
- University online catalog displaying academic course descriptions
- Bus schedules
- Applications handling Moderate Risk Data
- Human Resources application that stores salary information
- Directory containing phone numbers, email addresses, and titles
- University application that distributes information in the event of a campus emergency
- Online application for student admissions
- Applications handling High Risk Data
- Human Resources application that stores employee SSNs
- Application that stores campus network node information
- Application collecting personal information of donor, alumnus, or other individual
- Application that processes credit card payments