The UTSA Standard for Administrative/Special Access establishes the rules for the
creation, use, monitoring, control and removal of accounts with special access
privileges for the maintenance of information resources.


This standard supports HOP Policy 8-12 Information Resources Use and Security


This standard applies to all UTSA faculty, staff, and students.


The Office of Information Security


  1. Special Access is granted to allow a user to administer a computer application.
  2. Administrative Access (also known as “admin rights”) allows an individual to have
    control of their workstation. All requests for administrative rights must be approved
    by the user’s supervisor. To request administrative rights for a workstation, contact
    the Tech Cafe, via email at techcafe@utsa.edu or by calling 210-458-5555.
  3. The UTSA Administrative/Special Access Standard applies equally to all individuals
    that have, or may require, special access privilege to any UTSA information
  4. For Special Access
    1. All users must sign the UTSA Information Resources Security Acknowledgement
      and Nondisclosure Agreement before access is granted.
    2. All users of Administrative/Special Access accounts must be provided with
      account management instructions, documentation, training and authorization.
    3. Each individual who uses an Administrative/Special Access account must refrain
      from abuse of this privilege. Periodic random audits will be conducted to ensure
      proper use of the account.
    4. Each individual who uses an Administrative/Special access account must use the
      account most appropriate for the work being performed (i.e., user account vs.
      administrator account).
    5. Each account password must meet the UTSA Standard for Passwords and
      Passphrases .
    6. The password for a shared administrator/special access account must be changed
      when a password holder leaves the department or UTSA, or upon a personnel
      change of the vendor assigned to a UTSA contract.
    7. If the system has only one administrator, there must be a password escrow
      procedure in place so someone other than the administrator can gain access to the
      administrator account in an emergency situation. The procedure will be audited on
      a regular basis.
    8. When Special Access accounts are needed for audit, software development,
      software installation or other defined need, they:

      1. Must be authorized by the system owner, IRM or Information Security Officer
      2. Must be created with a specific expiration date.
      3. Must be removed when work is complete.
    9. The use of privileged commands must be traceable to specific individuals via the
      use of comprehensive logs.
  5. For Administrative Rights
    1. Users with administrative rights to their individual workstation must be made
      aware that it can be easier for an attacker to gain full access to the computer if it
      becomes compromised. An attacker can:

      1. Install programs or malware that allow full access to all of the data on the
      2.  Gain access to the data for all user profiles defined on the computer
      3. Install commands that automatically run at boot up
      4.  Replace critical system files with Trojan horses
      5. Reset the user password
    2. Users with administrative rights to a workstation must take steps to mitigate

      1. Ensuring their log on credentials are protected
      2. Ensuring the workstation is protected by up-to-date antivirus software
      3. Avoiding suspicious websites
      4. Avoiding (not clicking) links in suspicious email messages

OIS 2 – Standard for Administrative or Special Access
Effective Date: October 31 2011
Last Revised: August 5, 2020