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Information Security Office

U-Secure

Minimum Security Standards for Systems

Purpose

These minimum standards werer drafted in response to Texas Administrative Code 202 and UT System UTS-165. Adherence to the standards will increase the security of systems and help safeguard university information technology resources.These minimum standards exist in addition to all other university policies and federal and state regulations governing the protection of the university's data.

Compliance with these requirements does not imply a completely secure system. Instead, these requirements should be integrated into a comprehensive system security plan.

Scope

These standards apply to all devices, physical or virtual, connected to the university networks through a physical, wireless, or VPN connection where data is classified as Category I, II, or III (see Data Classification Standard).

Audience

All users with systems connected to the university network as indentified in the above scope.

Minimum Standards

This section lists the minimum standards that should be applied and enabled in Category I, II, and III data systems that are connected to the university network. Standards for Category I are generally required.

If products are not available from reputable commercial or reliable open source communities for a specific requirement, then the specific requirement is waived until an appropriate solution is available. In such cases a security exception must be requested.

IT Owners and IT Custodians, lead researchers, and/or systems administrators are expected to use their professional judgment in managing risks to the information and systems they use and/or support. All security controls should be proportional to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability requirements of the data processed by the system.

Backups

Practice Category I Category II & III
System administrators should establish and follow a procedure to carry out regular system backups. Required Recommended
Backups must be verified at least monthly, either through automated verification, through customer restores, or through trial restores. Required Recommended
Systems administrators must maintain documented restoration procedures for systems and the data on those systems. Required Recommended

Change Management

Practice Category I Category II & III
There must be a change control process for systems configuration. This process must be documented. Required Recommended
System changes should be evaluated prior to being applied in a production environment.

  • Patches must be tested prior to installation in the production environment if a test environment is available.
  • If a test environment is not available, the lack of patch testing should be communicated to the service subscriber or data customer, along with possible changes in the environment due to the patch.
Required Recommended

Computer Virus Prevention

Practice Category I Category II & III
Anti-virus software must be installed and enabled. Required Required
Anti-spyware software must be installed and enabled if the machine is used by administrators to browse Web sites not specifically related to the administration of the machine. In addition, anti-spyware software must be installed if users are able to install software. Recommended Recommended
Anti-virus and, if applicable, anti-spyware software should be configured to update signatures daily. Required Recommended
Systems administrators should maintain and keep available a description of the standard configuration of anti-virus software. Required Recommended

Physical Access

Practice Category I Category II & III
Systems must be physically secured in racks or areas with restricted access. Portable devices shall be physically secured if left unattended. Required Recommended
Backup media must be secured from unauthorized physical access. If the backup media is stored off-site, it must be encrypted or have a documented process to prevent unauthorized access. Required Recommended

System Hardening

Practice Category I Category II & III
Systems must be set up in a protected network environment or by using a method that assures the system is not accessible via a potentially hostile network until it is secured. Required Recommended
Operating system and application services security patches should be installed expediently and in a manner consistent with change management procedures. Required Required
If automatic notification of new patches is available, that option should be enabled. Required Required
Services, applications, and user accounts that are not being utilized should be disabled or uninstalled. Required Recommended
Methods should be enabled to limit connections to services running on the host to only the authorized users of the service. Software firewalls, hardware firewalls, and service configuration are a few of the methods that may be employed. Required Recommended
Services or applications running on systems manipulating Category-I data should implement secure (that is, encrypted) communications as required by confidentiality and integrity needs. Required Recommended
Systems will provide secure storage for Category-I data as required by confidentiality, integrity, and availability needs. Security can be provided by means such as, but not limited to, encryption, access controls, file system audits, physically securing the storage media, or any combination thereof as deemed appropriate. Required Recommended
If the operating system supports it, integrity checking of critical operating system files should be enabled and tested. Third-party tools may also be used to implement this. Required Recommended
Integrity checking of system accounts, group memberships, and their associated privileges should be enabled and tested. Required Recommended
The required university login banner should be displayed. Required Recommended
Whenever possible, all non-removable or (re-) writable media must be configured with file systems that support access control. Required Recommended
Access to non-public file system areas must require authentication. Required Recommended
Strong password requirements will be enabled, as technology permits, based on the category of data the account is allowed to access. Required Required
Apply the principle of least privilege to user, administrator, and system accounts. Required Recommended

System Hardening

Practice Category I Category II & III
If the operating system comes with a means to log activity, enabling and testing of those controls is required. Required Recommended
Operating system and service log monitoring and analysis should be performed routinely. This process should be documented. Required Recommended
The systems administrator must follow a documented backup strategy for security logs (for example, account management, access control, data integrity, etc.). Required Recommended
All administrator or root access must be logged. Required Recommended

Security Review for New Software and Systems

Departments evaluating the implementation of new software and/or systems, involving all categories of data, should request a security review by sending a written description of the proposed implementation to the Information Security Office prior to selecting vendors or products. Security reviews tend to be informal and can often be performed quickly, while ensuring that best practices are being considered.

Non-Compliance and Exceptions

For all system administrators — if any of the minimum standards contained within this document cannot be met on systems manipulating Category-I or -II data that you support, an exception must be requested that includes reporting the non-compliance to the Information Security Office, along with a plan for risk assessment and management. Non-compliance with these standards may result in revocation of system or network access, notification of supervisors, and reporting to the Office of Compliance.

UT Arlington employees are required to comply with both institutional rules and regulations and applicable UT System rules and regulations. In addition to university and System rules and regulations, UT Arlington employees are required to comply with state laws and regulations.