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UTMB Information Resources – Security Procedures Password Escrow

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					                   UTMB Information Resources – Security Procedures

 Procedure Number:       1.2.3.1                                                  Created:     09/28/2001
    Procedure Title:     Password Escrow                                          Reviewed:    11/10/2003
            Author:      Information Services                                     Approved:    09/03/2002
                                                                                  Revised:     04/08/2004



Password Escrow

Overview               Escrow is a method whereby a special access password can be kept in a physically
                       secure location, and only authorized personnel, satisfying pre-defined criteria, can
                       be granted knowledge and use of that password.


Rationale              The intent of this procedure is to assure that mission critical information resources
                       employ password escrow. Basically password escrow allows the system owner (or
                       other trusted party) to circumvent normative system access protocol when and if
                       needed. This may be required in the event of emergencies, staff unavailability,
                       personnel disputes, audits or investigations. Without password escrow, UTMB
                       management runs a significant risk; it could be locked out of a system by its own
                       security. Similarly, password escrow helps to protect against any one single key
                       employee from holding all of the high-level system access privileges to protected
                       data, software, applications, or operating system in order to comply with disaster
                       recovery and business continuity mandates.


Audience               The UTMB Password Escrow Procedures apply to all individuals within the UTMB
                       enterprise who are responsible for system administration of information resources.


Guidelines             If an information resource has only one system administrator, then there must be a
                       password escrow procedure in place to ensure that someone other than just the
                       sole system administrator can gain access to the administrator account, should a
                       situation warrant the need of such access.

                       The following are the required general concepts and provisions:


  Step       Action


   1         Limit the use of escrow.

             Password escrow is an arrangement whereby special access passwords only are to be
             shared with certain parties under certain conditions. (A password, pass-phrase, or PIN
             used for digital signatures, digital certificates, or any other individual “user” authentication
             must never be escrowed. In general, uniquely assigned control measures assume that only
             the involved user has control over their own password.)




                                                                                                 Page 1 of 3
                   UTMB Information Resources – Security Procedures

 Procedure Number:     1.2.3.1                                               Created:    09/28/2001
    Procedure Title:   Password Escrow                                       Reviewed:   11/10/2003
            Author:    Information Services                                  Approved:   09/03/2002
                                                                             Revised:    04/08/2004



Password Escrow (continued)

 Step       Action


   2        Escrow the password using secured storage.

            The passwords required to perform administrative system support should be kept in
            individually sealed, labeled, dated envelopes stored in an escrow lock box (preferably a
            safe), and signed by the individual responsible for the administration and management of
            the system.


   3        Restrict access to escrow lock box.

            Physical access to the password in escrow must be appropriately restricted; the escrow
            holder must be in an accountable position commensurate with this responsibility.


   4        Keep escrowed password current.

            Be sure to update the password stored in the envelope each time the password is changed
            (either as a routine periodic reset or when it has been necessary to use the password to
            access the administrator account in the absence of the system administrator).


   5        Change the special access password.

            Once the procedure is executed, an envelope is opened, and the password is used, the
            system administrator is required to reset the password and perform Step 2 accordingly. (If
            procedures are breached, confirmed or suspected, assume then that the password has
            been compromised and it must be immediately reset.)


   6        Maintain a thorough archive.

            The system administrator must escrow a complete record of ALL passwords and login IDs
            required for ALL aspects of managing and administrating the system.




                                                                                           Page 2 of 3
                   UTMB Information Resources – Security Procedures

 Procedure Number:      1.2.3.1                                               Created:    09/28/2001
    Procedure Title:    Password Escrow                                       Reviewed:   11/10/2003
            Author:     Information Services                                  Approved:   09/03/2002
                                                                              Revised:    04/08/2004



Password Escrow (continued)

  Step       Action


   7         Test the procedure on a regular basis.

             Passwords will be tested periodically for access to ensure complete functionality as
             required to manage and administrate the system.


   8         Audit the escrow arrangement on a regular basis.

             The password escrow arrangement will be audited periodically to ensure compliance with
             this procedure.




References             UTMB Information Resources Practice Standard 1.0.3 – IR Security Glossary
                       UTMB Information Resources Practice Standard 1.2.1 – Password Management
                       UTMB Information Resources Practice Standard 1.2.3 – Special Access




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