Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence Environments - Security and Access Guidelines

This document summarizes security and access guidelines for the Data Warehouse managed by the AITS Decision Support unit. It applies to multiple environments, databases, applications and users related to the Data Warehouse.


The value of data as a University resource is increased through its widespread and appropriate use. Its value is diminished through misuse, misinterpretation, or unnecessary restriction to its access. Furthermore, increased data access and use improves data integrity because discrepancies are identified and errors are subsequently corrected. 

As an educational institution with a mission to disseminate knowledge, and as a public institution accountable to the public, the University of Illinois values ease of access to information, including administrative data. Permission to view or query Data Warehouse data should be granted to University users for all legitimate institutional purposes. Information specifically protected by law, regulation or University policy must be rigorously protected from inappropriate access. AITS (Administrative Information Technology Services) Decision Support’s commitment is to balance the appropriate use of data and ease of access with appropriate security protection at all levels. 


a.  Data Warehouse security and access philosophy are guided by University of Illinois policy and      standards for administrative information.

b.  Data Warehouse security and access is guided by the variety of legal and regulatory directives and standards, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA) Act, that apply to the University.

c.  Data Warehouse security and access is consistent with Functional Offices’ custodianship of subject area data. AITS Decision Support staff work closely with these offices in development of access practices and monitoring of access to the Data Warehouse.

d.  Data Warehouse security and access is consistent with AITS technical infrastructure in which the Data Warehouse is embedded. AITS Decision Support staff work closely with the other AITS teams on a range of security and technical issues.

e.  AITS Decision Support is responsible for management of security and access for the Data Warehouse.

f.  Unit heads are responsible for approving individual’s access to Data Warehouse data within their unit. They may delegate this responsibility to a Unit Security Contact (USC). This assumption is consistent with University policy and all other administrative systems.

g.  Access to data is aligned with job responsibilities.

    • Access to data in operational reports is aligned with the individual’s responsibility to perform operational tasks. Some individuals performing operational tasks will also have job responsibilities to create reports and queries.
    • Access to data to create new queries and reports is also in the job responsibilities of some individuals with no corresponding operational application usage, such as departmental data analysts.
h.  Administrative controls will be balanced by performance and feasibility considerations. In many cases, the more complex the security or access controls, the poorer performance of the data. Where access controls are less than optimal, usage controls and data education will be correspondingly increased.

Relevant University Policies

Access to the Data Warehouse is subject to existing University policies for administrative information and information security. These policies are particularly relevant:

 Information Security Policy  2004
 Social Security Number Policy  2011
 University Identification Number (UINS) Policy  2003

Administrative Controls: Data Access

Access to Data Warehouse data is controlled and monitored. The elements involved in controlling and monitoring this access are described below. 

Data Classification

Not all information resources can be, or must be, equally protected. To ensure that University protection efforts are cost effective, all Data Warehouse resources will be classified based on sensitivity and risk. Access control should be consistent with the classified value of the resources to be protected and the severity of the threat to them.

Data will be classified when it is developed for the Data Warehouse, using categories outlined in the Information Security Policy and consistent with the University Administration Data Classification document:

  • High Risk- Information assets that would cause severe damage to the University if disclosed or modified. Data covered by federal and state legislation, such as HIPAA or the Data Protection Act, are in this class. Payroll, personnel, and certain kinds of financial information are also in this class because of privacy requirements.
  • Sensitive – Information that if disclosed or modified without authorization would have serious adverse effect on the operations, assets, or reputation of the University, or the University’s obligations concerning information privacy. Information that is covered by FERPA, Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s), and other intellectual property are, as a minimum, in this class. Note: Non-Disclosure Agreements may fall into the Sensitive or High Risk categories and should be individually evaluated.
  • Internal - Source code, data, logs, etc. that would not expose University to loss if disclosed, but should be protected to prevent unauthorized disclosure.
  • Public - Information that may be freely disseminated.

For the purposes of the Data Warehouse, “Public” is interpreted as freely available within the University community. Data Warehouse data is distributed outside the University only by those units and individuals authorized to release University data, consistent with University policy and practice.

The design of the Data Warehouse is consistent with the assigned classifications for both detail and summary data. Decision Support is responsible for implementing appropriate protection controls for the data.

Data classification of transformed data is a particular focus. AITS Decision Support transforms data to maximize its usability by the University community. In some cases, transformations are superficial, as in different formats or recoding. In some cases, transformations are substantive, as in creating aggregates, new fields that are combinations of fields or other new data. In the case of superficial transformations, AITS Decision Support will carry forward the data classification of the data from its source. In the case of substantive transformations, a new data classification may be appropriate. 

AITS Decision Support staff manage and coordinate this activity with Functional Offices, source system owners and AITS Security. Where there is disagreement on classifications, the appropriate University officer or administrative committee will be consulted. 

AITS Decision Support maintains authorization, access, and audit records. These classifications will continue to be maintained throughout Data Warehouse databases.

AITS Decision Support has special responsibilities relative to sensitive (and high risk) data. Sensitive data is private, confidential and protected by law, regulation and University policy. Sensitive data should only be used for internal record keeping and mandated external reports. AITS Decision Support will collect, maintain and disseminate all sensitive data in accordance with University policy, State and Federal laws. 

The responsibility to address sensitive data issues extends to all venues and formats, including training sessions, education sessions, individual discussions, group discussions, printed materials, electronic materials and Web sites. 

Three categories of sensitive data warrant additional comment:

Social Security Number - Social Security Numbers are represented in the Data Warehouse. Following the University Social Security Number policy, AITS Decision Support will:

  • Include the Social Security Number as a data element in the Data Warehouse in a form congruent with that in operational systems
  • Source the Social Security Number from the University’s system of record, wherever possible
  • Not use the Social Security Number as a primary key in its applications
  • Identify roles that may and may not view or retrieve Social Security Numbers in the Data Warehouse and seek approval of the University’s Social Security Number Oversight Committee for those

Student Records - FERPA provides for the confidentiality of student records, requires an educational need to know for access to student records and provides a way for student to opt out of publicly published data. When access to student data is provided through information brokers, such as the Registrar’s office or Institutional Research offices, these brokers provide guidance on appropriate use relative to FERPA. When access to student data is direct, training on FERPA issues is required. 

Existence of the Data Warehouse increases the number of University employees directly accessing student data and decreases the opportunities for one-to-one guidance on FERPA issues. Under these circumstances, there is potential for inappropriate use of FERPA protected data. Examples of inappropriate use are: publishing mailing lists that include FERPA protected records on departmental Web sites; failing to include the FERPA confidentiality indicator on reports that list individual student data; leaving paper reports with confidential student data on open desktops, or failing to shred reports with confidential student data after use. 

To minimize these risks and be consistent with University policy and practice on FERPA, AITS Decision Support will continue to:

    • Include a FERPA confidentiality indicator in the Data Warehouse
    • Identify which access roles encompass an educational need to know for student data, relative to FERPA protections
    • Coordinate with campus Registrars, the Multi-Campus FERPA Committee and administrative units on policy, procedure and educational issues arising from an increase in student data users
    • Limit direct access for one-time or short-term use, instead directing these requestors to the appropriate office where the data needed can be reviewed and prepared. For example, instructional research studies often require short-term use of a complex data set. 
    • In AITS Decision Support educational programs, include information related to FERPA protections.
    • Coordinate with AITS Security and campus Registrars in monitoring FERPA-related security violations
Other sensitive data - Other examples of sensitive data are: racial/ethnic category and disability/veteran status. For these and other data identified as sensitive, AITS Decision Support will:

    • identify the applicable legal, regulatory and University policies and standards, through consultation with Functional Offices and others
    • make stakeholders and users aware of analogous practice for the Data Warehouse
    • follow University procedures to resolve any disagreement related to uses of these data elements

Records Retention
The records retention guidelines for the data warehouse environment are documented in the Data Warehouse Data Retention Guidelines.


Access to the Data Warehouse requires authentication of user identity. A unique identifier is used to track access. To the extent possible, identifiers will be consistent with those used in other major University systems.

The identifiers will be secured by passwords. Passwords will follow University guidelines, except where technical considerations, such as software limitations, limit the options.


Access to sensitive and high risk data in the Data Warehouse requires authorization. Authorization is implemented using role-based permissions, rather than assigning permissions to individuals, to provide consistency in access across individuals, data and time.

Authorization will be related to the user’s job function and assignments, as determined by the unit (Dean, Director, Department Head or designated Unit Security Contact). It is recognized that the need for analysis and reporting from administrative data will not map as closely to job function as the need for updating operational systems, for example. For example, many support staff are asked by their unit heads to create and run management reports and perform business analyses for the unit. The authorization process for the Data Warehouse therefore must be flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of users while still ensuring appropriate controls. 

Application (Service) Accounts

Application logons are defined as logons designated for a computer application or group of applications. They are often needed in units where a scheduled application retrieves data from the Data Warehouse. In many cases, there are multiple technical staff supporting the application. Use of individual logons in these situations involves sharing personal logon, in violation of University policy. 

University policy indicates that responsibility for logons is generally assigned to an individual. The policy ( says:

Access to the network and servers and systems will be achieved by individual and unique logins, and will require authentication. Authentication includes the use of passwords, smart cards, biometrics, or other recognized forms of authentication. 


As stated in the current campus policies on appropriate and acceptable use, users must not share usernames and passwords, nor should they be written down or recorded in unencrypted electronic files or documents. When limited access to university-related documents or files is required specifically and solely for the proper operation of University units and where available technical alternatives are not feasible, exceptions are allowed under an articulated unit policy that is available to all affected unit personnel. Each such policy must be reviewed by the unit executive officer and submitted to the CIO for approval. All users must secure their username or account, password, and system access from unauthorized use.


Logins and passwords should not be coded into programs or queries unless they are encrypted or otherwise secure.

The purpose of the policy is to maintain information about the person responsible for use of a login, should there be a security/confidentiality violation. 


AITS Decision Support will provide second logons for use with applications to individuals. The individual is accountable for all use of the application login, just as s/he is for use of a personal logon.

Where there will be multiple individuals supporting an application and using the application logon, each of those individuals must be identified to AITS Decision Support.

Unit Roles and Responsibilities

Each unit appoints a person to be responsible for security implementation, incident response, periodic user access reviews, and education of information security policies including, for example, information about virus infection risks.

Applications that access secured data in the Data Warehouse are expected to have a security plan and process to continue appropriate access for secured data as it moves from central database (Data Warehouse) to local use. 

  • As with personal logons, the individual assigned an application logon is accountable for all use of the application logon. This responsibility includes providing secured data to other individuals via the application and ensuring that the security classification of the data is maintained as it is distributed at the point of contact with the application. (This responsibility is the same as the expectation that individuals distributing data via reports, spreadsheets or other means.)

  • Should the individual assigned an application logon leave the university, the logon name may be retained but responsibility must be reassigned to another individual. When the logon is reassigned to a new individual, the password must be changed. If an application logon is not reassigned, it may be suspended or terminated, just as other logons without employees may be, in the course of normal maintenance. Requests for reassignment are done through the Unit Security Contact (USC) for the unit.

  • Those who are secondary users of another person’s application logon, as part of their assigned duties to support the application, have the same responsibilities for ensuring appropriate use of secured data.

  • Those who are secondary users of another person’s application logon must be designated to AITS Decision Support and indicate they understand these responsibilities for use of another person’s logon.
  • As with personal logons, the password for application logons should be changed on a periodic basis. Owners should document steps related to password changes for their own use that apply to their own local systems and perform these steps when the application logon password is changed.

Central Roles and Responsibilities

  • AITS is responsible for answering questions on the security status of Data Warehouse data so that a) the unit may take appropriate security measures in the application’s security plan and b) those with application logons may ensure appropriate use of the data via the application.

  • AITS may from time to time audit a unit's procedures for handling application logons that access the Data Warehouse in order to ensure their effectiveness; whether audited or not, units remain responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of their procedures.

  • AITS will approve units having application logins (as defined) based on the general need of the unit; this approval of the need for the service and the general procedures and roles involved in the service normally takes place once, and is not reviewed when the specific individuals change. If a unit changes the number or names of individuals, AITS expects that the use and process already approved will not materially change. Review of applications themselves is not within the scope of this policy.

  • Information Technology Leadership Team (IT LT) and AITS will consult on interpretations of the University Information Security Policy as it pertains to application logons for the Data Warehouse.

  • In the course of fulfilling its auditing responsibilities for information security, the Office of University Audits may review management’s controls over system access and information use, disclosure, modification, or loss.

  • Members of IT LT are responsible for procedures for appropriate training to data owners, data custodians, network and system administrators and users; for procedures to implement University Information Security policies and for monitoring compliance.


Security Monitoring and Violations

As defined in the Information Security Policy, a security violation is any event which:

  • Fails to comply with data security standards

  • Represents an apparent or real effort to undermine, override, or otherwise circumvent security standards or controls.

AITS Decision Support coordinates with AITS System Access Management to monitor security for violations, attempted violations, mistakes, and other breaches to security. Regular reports on security are reviewed by the Assistant Vice President and presented to Functional Office custodians.Violations will be handled through normal University procedures. Violation of any provision of this policy may result in:

  • limitation of an individual's access to some or all University systems;

  • initiation of legal action by the University including, but not limited to, criminal prosecution under appropriate State and Federal laws;

  • requirement of the violator to provide restitution for any improper use of service; or

  • disciplinary sanctions, in accordance with University policy.

Administrative Controls: Data Usage

Usage controls, such as education, are critical for security of Data Warehouse information. 

The Data Warehouse is designed to increase the usability of administrative data for multiple purposes throughout the University. Usability can, in some instances, limit the access controls that can be feasibly implemented. For example, performance of the Data Warehouse can be affected by the granularity of authorization mechanisms. 

To increase the overall security of Data Warehouse information, AITS Decision Support will continue to balance access controls, usability controls and the usability of the data, except where laws and regulations require otherwise.


AITS Decision Support provides users with metadata, that is information on the meaning and appropriate usage of data in the Data Warehouse. Metadata includes information on data source, transformations, model, definition, values, schedules, history tracking, data classification and more. Users informed by metadata are more apt to use data appropriately. Metadata will be provided for all classifications of data. Metadata will be classified and access provided accordingly. For example, there may be some kinds of metadata that are not appropriate for public use, for security reasons. 



AITS Decision Support maintains an educational program on meaning and appropriate usage of data in the Data Warehouse to ensure that users understand data sensitivity issues, levels of confidentiality, and the mechanisms to protect the data. Education will include information on these topics:

  • appropriate use of sensitive and high risk data obtained from the Data Warehouse

  • appropriate use of data extracted from the Data Warehouse for secondary uses

According to University policy, all users of administrative information share in custodial responsibilities. Custodial responsibility is particularly important in use of a Data Warehouse, where access and active use are encouraged. Active use implies that data moves from person to person throughout the University, whether in paper form, spreadsheets, databases or other forms. 

AITS Decision Support will coordinate with those involved in granting access at the unit level (Deans, Directors, Department Heads, Unit Security Contacts) to ensure that they have the information about the Data Warehouse needed to make appropriate assignments. Periodic reminders of these responsibilities and updates will be provided and, where appropriate, coordinated with AITS System Access Management.

AITS Decision Support has a responsibility to assist those involved in educating about data usage, including Institutional Research units, Functional Offices and any staff designated as trainers.

Secondary Use of Data

Secondary use of data is a necessary part of obtaining value from the Data Warehouse. Secondary usage includes, but is not limited to:

  • individual use
  • local databases
  • local applications
  • reports, whether electronic or printed
  • information distributed to others


Data used for secondary purposes has the same security and access control requirements as those of the Data Warehouse. In particular, sensitivity of data is an attribute of the data itself, and not related to system or location. Those making copies of data for use outside the Data Warehouse are individually responsible for maintaining these requirements at the local site. Department heads, or their designees, are responsible for maintaining these requirements for the department.

AITS Decision Support will provide guidelines for secondary use of data, advise units on specific secondary uses and work with other University units on monitoring of secondary use practices.

Information on responsibilities for local copies of data will be included in AITS Decision Support educational programs.


To ensure systematic administrative control, AITS will maintain written guidelines to govern these procedures.

  • Request for access/access change to Data Warehouse

  • Request for access/access change to reports in the Business Objects system

  • Password change procedures

  • New user security procedure

  • Maintenance of user lists and profiles

  • Procedure changes

  • Removing access procedure

  • Security monitoring, auditing and reporting

Roles and Responsibilities

All electronic information is the property of the University of Illinois, unless otherwise stated in a contractual agreement. Following is a summary of responsibilities of those units and/or individuals using or supporting Data Warehouse information on University systems.

AITS Decision Support staff

The Assistant Vice President of AITS Decision Support provides oversight of security procedures and controls as applied to Data Warehouse databases and applications. The Assistant Vice President is responsible for assuring users and custodians of operational data that data migrated to the AITS Decision Support environment is secure and managed within University policy, law and regulation. Specific responsibilities are:

  • Develop and maintain Data Warehouse security guidelines and procedures which are consistent with the AITS System Access Management policies

  • Establish and maintain high-level standards and related procedures for access to all levels of Data Warehouse data

  • Exercise administrative judgment as to the development, maintenance, operation of, and access to the University data in the Data Warehouse

The AITS Decision Support staff, under guidance of the Assistant Vice President, has these responsibilities:

  • Maintain cooperative working relationships with Functional Office Custodians on issues of data classification, data access, data risks and security monitoring

  • Provides access reports to all functional owners for their review

  • Coordinate with AITS System Access Management to select, implement, and administer controls and procedures to manage data access risks

  • Ensure that the data design is consistent with data classification

  • Identify and evaluate data access risks, such as inactive accounts

  • Provide day-to-day administration of access and password requests

  • Maintain access and audit records, coordinating where appropriate with AITS staff

  • Create, distribute, and follow up on security violation reports

  • Communicate appropriate use, and consequences of misuse, to users who access the systems or data

  • Promote security awareness to the University community, particularly in the downstream use of Data Warehouse data

Executive Sponsor/Administrative Oversight

The AITS Executive Sponsor, in conjunction with appropriate administrative oversight group(s), provides oversight and guidance in development of the Data Warehouse and associated applications and services. Responsibilities are:

  • Advise on the administration of security policies

  • Review and approve security access policy changes

  • Review and approve data classification strategies and outcomes

  • Review security monitoring procedures

  • Advise when issues should be taken to a broader University context

Functional Offices

Functional Offices are custodians of subject area data. AITS Decision Support staff work closely with these offices in development of access practices and monitoring of access to the Data Warehouse. Responsibilities are:

  • Advise on data classification and data risks

  • Approve security access plans as new data sets are implemented

  • Participate in security data design related to application of University policies, laws and regulations

  • Review access and audit records on a regular basis

  • Advise on changes and exceptions to access policy

  • Promote security awareness to the University community, particularly in the downstream use of Data Warehouse data

Deans, Directors, and Department Heads (DDDH) or their designees (USCs)

According to University policy, Deans, Directors and Department Heads are responsible for ensuring that University security policies are implemented within the unit. These duties may be delegated to a Unit Security Contact (USC). Responsibilities are:

  • Ensure that unit employees understand security policies, procedures, and responsibilities related to the Data Warehouse

  • Approve appropriate data access for individual staff that allow them to complete job‑related assignments

  • Review, evaluate, and respond to all security violations reported against staff, and take appropriate action

  • Communicate to appropriate campus and University departments when employee departures, arrivals, and changes affect Data Warehouse access

  • Ensure security procedures are in place to protect information assets obtained through the Data Warehouse under their control, particularly the secondary use of data in local systems

User Responsibilities

Anyone accessing Data Warehouse data is personally responsible for proper use of the resulting available information. Responsibilities are:

  • Comply with University and AITS Decision Support security access standards and procedures in the use, storage, dissemination, and disposal of data

  • Protect data from unauthorized access

  • Protect data from unauthorized distribution. Specifically, all users are expected to refrain from distributing data to others in any form, unless they know that those others have the appropriate access level. That means that reports developed by person A may not be distributed to person B, unless person B would be permitted to see that data, should s/he request Data Warehouse access. 

  • Maintain the integrity of user IDs for Data Warehouse data and applications. Specifically user IDs and passwords are not to be shared and users are responsible for maintaining the security of their IDs and all activity occurring under those IDs.

  • Report information security violations to their Dean, Director, or Department Head, or to the designated Unit Security Contact (USC)

  • Report data integrity errors to AITS Decision Support

  • Maintain the accurate presentation of Data Warehouse data, and assume responsibility for the consequences of any intentional misrepresentation of that data


AITS System Access Management

AITS System Access Management is the unit within AITS that is responsible for managing information security standards, procedures, and controls intended to minimize the risk of loss, damage, or misuse of AITS-supported electronic data. Relative to Data Warehouse security, this group’s responsibilities are:

  • Assist AITS Decision Support staff in identifying and evaluating information security risks

  • Coordinate with AITS Decision Support staff on security monitoring, auditing and reporting

  • Advise and/or broker AITS Decision Support’s contact with the Unit Security Contact (USC) network

  • Serve as the AITS focal point for reviewing data security issues that have campus- and University-wide impact


  Office of University Audits

Internal auditors are authorized to inquiry-only access to all administrative information and systems, and are responsible for assisting the AITS Decision Support staff in the effective discharge of their duties. Internal auditor’s responsibilities are:

  • Evaluate AITS Decision Support’s security guidelines and procedures compliance, during operational and administrative audits

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of security procedures and other internal controls

  • Review audit trails provided by staff to determine whether activity is adequately documented

  • Assist the AITS Decision Support staff in the investigation of suspected incidents of security breach or improper activity

  • Provide advice regarding internal control relevant to new systems being developed or considered for purchase.

Keywords:AITS, policy, BI   Doc ID:74242
Owner:Michael W.Group:University of Illinois System
Created:2017-06-22 09:06 CDTUpdated:2017-06-27 11:24 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois System
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