Federal Records Management

FAQs for GRS 3.2, Information Systems Security Records

Download all Frequently Asked Questions of Individual GRS Schedules in a PDF


1. What are the definitions of terms used in GRS 3.2?

Information system means the organized collection, processing, transmission, and dissemination of information in accordance with defined procedures, whether automated or manual. (36 CFR 1220.18)  

Information systems security records are records created and maintained by Federal agencies related to protecting the security of information technology systems and data and responding to computer security incidents.

Information technology infrastructure (item 010) means the basic systems and services used to supply the agency and its staff with access to computers and data communications. Components include hardware such as printers, desktop and laptop computers, network and web servers, routers, hubs, and network cabling, as well as software such as operating systems and shared applications (e.g., word processing). The services necessary to design, implement, test, validate, and maintain such components are also considered part of an agency's IT infrastructure.

Computer incident (item 020) within the Federal Government is defined by NIST Special Publication 800-61, Computer Security Incident Handling Guide, Revision 2 (August 2012), as a violation or imminent threat of violation of computer security policies, acceptable use policies, or standard computer security practices.

Significant computer incident (item 020) requiring scheduling of records outside of this GRS would be defined as one that caused widespread system outage or denial of service, or gained notice by local news media, law enforcement, or the agency’s Inspector General’s office.

System access records (items 030 and 031) are those created as part of the user identification and authorization process to gain access to systems. Records are used to monitor inappropriate systems access by users. 

System backups (items 040 and 041) are files maintained for potential system restoration in the event of a system failure or other unintentional loss of data. 

Master files (items 050 and 051) are the actual content of the electronic records series or system, or in other words the recordkeeping copy of an electronic record or system. Master files may consist of data, scanned text, PDFs, digital images, or some other form of electronic information. They may include the information content of an entire system or that of a group of related files. Related records within a single master file are not always the same format.

Electronic signature (items 060, 061, and 062) is a technologically neutral term indicating various methods of signing an electronic message that (a) identify and authenticate a particular person as source of the electronic message and (b) indicate such person's approval of the information contained in the electronic message (definition from Government Paperwork Elimination Act, Public Law 105-277). Examples of electronic signature technologies include PINs, user identifications and passwords, digital signatures, digitized signatures, and hardware and biometric tokens. (See Appendix A, Records Management Guidance for Agencies Implementing Electronic Signature Technologies, NARA, October 18, 2000)

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