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Access Control (formerly G-051 & G-052) : (formerly G-051 & G-052)

Policy/Guideline Area

Governance, Organization, and General Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, System Office, Board Members


The purpose of this policy is to establish a minimum expectation with respect to access controls in order to protect data stored on computer systems throughout the system.


  • Authentication – A process that allows a device or system to verify the unique identity of a person, device or other system that is requesting access to a resource.
  • Digital identity - Information on an entity used by computer systems to represent an external agent. That agent may be a person, organization, application, or device. Also referred to as a user account or user profile.
  • System account – A special account used for automated processes without user interaction or for device management. These accounts are not assigned to an individual user for login purposes.
  • Privileged account – An account with elevated access or privileges to a secure system or resource. This type of account is authorized and trusted to perform security relevant functions that an ordinary user account is not authorized to perform. Privileged accounts are assigned to individual users.


  1. Policy
    1. Tennessee Board of Regents institutions shall control user access to information assets based on requirements of individual accountability, need to know, and least privilege.
    2. Access to institutional information assets must be authorized and managed securely in compliance with appropriate industry practice and with numerous applicable legal and regulatory requirements (e.g., the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Open Records Act of Tennessee, Gramm Leach Bliley Act, and identity theft laws).
    3. Institutional information assets include data, hardware and software technologies, and the infrastructure used to process, transmit, and store information.
      1. Any computer, laptop, printer or device that an authorized user connects to the campus network is subject to this policy.
      2. Guest, unauthenticated access may be provisioned commensurate with usage and risk.
      3. Authorized users accessing institutional computing resources and network with their own personal equipment are responsible for ensuring the security and integrity of the systems they are using to establish access.
      4. For systems that contain critical or confidential classified data, TBR and its institutions shall use secure methods that uniquely identify and authenticate users. Such methods can include multi-factor authentication, passwords, data loss prevention, device management, biometrics and public/private key pairs.
  2. Access Controls
    1. Access to information assets must be restricted to authorized users and must be protected by appropriate physical, administrative, and logical authentication and authorization controls.
    2. Protection for information assets must be commensurate with the classification level assigned to the information.
    3. Each computer system shall have an automated access control process that identifies and authenticates users and then permits access based on defined requirements or permissions for the user or user type.
    4. All users of secure systems must be accurately identified, a positive identification must be maintained throughout the login session, and actions must be linked to specific users.
    5. Access control mechanisms may include user IDs, access control lists, constrained user interfaces, encryption, port protection devices, secure gateways/firewalls, and host-based authentication.
  3. User Identification, Authentication, and Accountability
    1. User IDs:
      1. The access control process must identify each user through a unique user identifier (user ID) account.
      2. User IDs are assigned by the campus or TBR Office of Information Technology and application support personnel.
      3. Users must provide government-issued, picture IDs for positive proof of identity when receiving account access.
      4. Users must provide their user ID at logon to a computer system, application, or network.
    2. Individual Accountability:
      1. Individual accountability must be maintained.
      2. Each user ID must be associated with an individual person who is responsible for its use.
      3. Individuals with authenticated access cannot share their login credentials with anyone with the penalty of having their access rescinded immediately.
    3. Authentication:
      1. Authentication is the means of ensuring the validity of the user identification.
      2. All user access must be authenticated.
        1. The minimum means of authentication is a personal secret password that the user must provide with each system and/or application logon.
        2. All passwords used to access information assets must conform to certain requirements relating to password composition, length, expiration, and confidentiality. 
  4. Access Privileges
    1. Each user’s access privileges shall be authorized on a need-to-know basis as dictated by the user’s specific and authorized role.
    2. Authorized access shall be based on least privilege.
      1. This means that only the minimum privileges required to fulfill the user’s role shall be permitted.
      2. Access privileges shall be defined to maintain appropriate segregation of duties to reduce the risk of misuse of information assets.
      3. Any access that is granted to data must be authorized by the appropriate data trustee.
    3. Access privileges shall be controlled based on the following criteria, as appropriate:
      1. Identity (user ID);
      2. Role or function;
      3. Physical or logical locations;
      4. Time of day/week/month;
      5. Transaction based access;
      6. Access modes such as read, write, execute, delete, create, and/or search.
    4. Privileged access (e.g., administrative accounts, root accounts) must be granted based strictly on role requirements.
      1. The number of personnel with special privileges should be carefully limited.
  5. Access Account Management
    1. User ID accounts must be established, managed, and terminated to maintain the necessary level of data protection.
    2. The following requirements apply to network logons as well as individual application and system logons, and should be implemented where technically and procedurally feasible:
      1. Account creation requests must specify access either explicitly or request a role that has been mapped to the required access.
        1. New accounts created by mirroring existing user accounts must be audited against the explicit request or roles for appropriate access rights.
      2. Accounts must be locked out according to individual campus requirements after an institution-defined number of consecutive invalid logon attempts.
        1. When a user account is locked out, it should remain locked out for a minimum of five minutes or until authorized personnel unlocks the account.
      3. User interfaces must be locked according to individual campus requirements after an institution-defined length of system/session idle time.
        1. This requirement applies to workstation and laptop sessions as well as application sessions where feasible.
        2. The office of information technology shall implement measures to enforce this requirement and to require the user to re-authenticate to reestablish the session.
      4. Systems housing or using restricted information must be configured in such a way that access to the restricted information is denied unless specific access is granted.
        1. Access to restricted information is never to be allowed by default.
      5. Information Technology personnel revoke access upon notification that access is no longer required in accordance with the following procedures.
        1. Access privileges of terminated or transferred users must be revoked or changed as soon as notification of termination or transfer occurs and in accordance with stakeholders of contract control at the local institutions.
        2. In cases where an employee is not leaving on good terms, the user ID must be disabled simultaneously with departure.
        3. Access for users who are on leaves of absence or extended disability must be suspended until the user returns.
        4. Adjunct faculty members are never granted access to Banner Admin Pages.
        5. Adjunct faculty member account access shall be controlled by a procedure resident at the local institutions using contract status, defined dates of employment and information from other stakeholders with contract control for adjunct faculty.
        6. Using the above-mentioned procedure, each campus will run this process on a campus-defined schedule according to academic calendars and direction from stakeholders with contract control for adjunct faculty. This process shall be determined by individual campuses.
        7. Adjunct faculty members shall be granted limited access before and after their course start and end dates to perform the duties necessary for their position, upon request involving reasons for the extension and specific access.
      6. User IDs will be disabled after a period of inactivity that is determined appropriate by the current business process and the individual campus.
      7. All third party access (contractors, business partners, consultants, vendors) must be authorized and monitored using processes determined by the individual campuses.
      8. Appropriate logging will be implemented commensurate with sensitivity/criticality of the data and resources.
        1. Logging of attempted access must include failed logons.
        2. Where practical, successful logons to systems with restricted information shall be logged.
        3. Logs should be monitored and regularly reviewed to identify security breaches or unauthorized activity.
        4. Logs shall be maintained for at least ninety days.
      9. A periodic audit of secured systems to confirm that access privileges are appropriate must be conducted.
        1. The audit will consist of reviewing and validating that user access rights are still needed and are appropriate.
      10. Applications requiring an account not tied to a single user shall employ service-based accounts
        1. Users oversee these accounts and maintain their passwords.
        2. Applications requiring these accounts shall be monitored and audited by individual campus documented procedures dictated by the application for which they are provisioned.
        3. Service-based accounts, due to their application centric use, are not subject to standard user account management rules.
  6. Compliance and Enforcement
    1. The policy applies to all users of information resources including students, faculty, staff, temporary workers, vendors, and any other authorized users who are permitted access.
    2. Persons in violation of this policy are subject to a range of sanctions (determined and enforced by institution management), including the loss of computer network access privileges, disciplinary action, dismissal from the institution, and legal action.
    3. Some violations may constitute criminal offenses, per Tennessee and other local, and federal laws. The institution will carry out its responsibility to report such violations to the appropriate authorities.
  7. Exceptions
    1. Documented exceptions to this policy may be granted by the information security officer for the institution based on limitations to risk and use.


  1. Digital Identity and Authentication Management
    1. Password (and Passphrase) Construction
      1. The effectiveness of passwords to protect access to the institution’s information directly depends on strong password construction and handling practices. All users must construct strong passwords for access to all institution networks and systems, using the following criteria (unless the technology does not support these requirements):
        1. For all directions concerning password lengths, password change schedules and the use of passphrases rather than passwords, TBR will follow the NIST standards.
        2. Passwords must be a minimum of 8 characters in length.
        3. Passwords must be composed of a combination of at least three of the following four types of characters:
          1. Upper case alphabetic character;
          2. Lower case alphabetic character;
          3. Numeric character;
          4. Non-alphanumeric character (if the application permits), OR:
          5. Passphrases may be used instead of passwords and must be composed of a minimum of 14 characters. Passphrases do not require the complexity rules mentioned immediately above.
    2. ​​​​​​​Password Management
      1. The following requirements apply to end-user password management.
        1. Storage and Visibility
          1. Passwords must not be stored in a manner which allows unauthorized access.
          2. Passwords will not be stored in a clear text file.
          3. Passwords will not be sent via unencrypted e-mail.
        2. Changing Passwords
          1. If 14-character minimum pass phrases are used, there is no requirement for routine password expiration/rotation. Otherwise, users with non-privileged accounts must change their passwords every 120 days. Student accounts are exempt from this requirement.
          2. Users with privileged accounts (such as those with root or administrator level access) must change their passwords at least every 120 days.
          3. Passwords must be changed within one business day if any of the following events occur:
          4. Unauthorized password discovery or usage by another person;
          5. System compromise (unauthorized access to a system or account);
          6. Insecure transmission of a password;
          7. Accidental disclosure of a password to an unauthorized person;
          8. Status changes for personnel with access to privileged and/or system accounts.
      2. The following requirements apply to password files and hashes.
        1. Password files or hashes should not be shared with any entity without formal written consent.
      3. The following requirements apply to system accounts.
        1. System Accounts are not required to expire but must meet the password construction requirements above (where supported by the underlying technologies).
        2. Vendor-provided passwords must be changed upon installation using the password construction requirements above (where supported by the underlying technologies).
    3. Compliance and Enforcement
      1. The policy applies to all users of information resources including students, faculty, staff, temporary workers, vendors, and any other authorized users.
      2. Persons in violation of this policy are subject to a range of sanctions determined and enforced by the individual institutions.
      3. Justifications for exceptions to this policy must be documented by the institution and must be approved by the institution’s President or designee.



T.C.A. § 49-8-203


NEW Guidelines G-051 & G-052 approved at Presidents Meeting, August 19, 2014, effective September 26, 2014. Revisions and change to policy approved at Special Called Meeting May 14, 2019