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Northwestern University

SAFER FAQ

A Steward is on vacation and we need to make access changes that can't wait until the Steward is back. What should we do?

  • The remaining Steward (who's not on vacation) must first transfer the vacation-Steward's responsibility to a new Steward (either temporarily or permanently). Then you will have two present Stewards who are able to execute the necessary action. Use the Replace a Steward form.

Both Stewards are on vacation or away and we need to make access changes to a folder. What do we do?

  • Please contact Weinberg IT for access changes in the absence of both Stewards. Please be aware that access changes will be made only rarely by Weinberg IT. Also, Weinberg IT will be in touch with the Director of this Share for permission to make these changes. In the absence of both Stewards and the Director, changes will not be made. Stewards should be selected for their expertise regarding folder content and also their availability to make these changes.

Someone is being hired and they'll need access to SAFER folders. What is the process?

  • A new SAFER form is being developed to streamline this process. In the meantime, if the newly hired person needs access to a small number of top-level folders or folders underneath only a few top-level folders, the relevant Stewards can fill out the Change Collaborator Access form for each folder.  In the Weinberg Dean' Office, if the new person needs access to Dean's Office folders, then their new supervisor can initiate a service request with Weinberg IT. Weinberg IT will contact the necessary Stewards for permission approval. Going forward, Weinberg IT cannot make changes without approval from Stewards (or the Director in the absence of both Stewards).  SAFER partner organizations will be notified when the new hire form is available.  

An employee is leaving and they need their access removed from SAFER folders in our Share. What's the process?

  • A new SAFER form is being developed to streamline this process. In the meantime, before the person leaves your organization, they should remove their own access directly in Box for each highest subfolder (see below screenshot for how) and notify their supervisor that they have removed their access. If the employee has already left the university, HR Managers can submit a service request.  Stewards can also remove the person from individual folders with the Change Collaborator Access form, however that will not remove all of their access, necessarily, given that the person might have access to folders in more than one steward pair's jurisdiction and access to non-SAFER folders.  Weinberg IT's response to the service request can remove all access, if needed, or on a per-folder basis.  

    Access Removal SAFER

A person needs access to a folder that isn't sensitive. Do they have to go through SAFER to get access?

  • No, SAFER only regulates access to folders that are in a SAFER Share - as described in this section of the site: How It Works. You can log in online to Box and grant access directly as an owner or editor of the non-sensitive folder without using SAFER. In the Box interface, click on the box that says "Invite People" when inside the folder and fill out the form that appears.

How do I know if folders are in a SAFER Share or SAFER-registered?

  • SAFER folders are located within a SAFER Share - as described in this section of this site: How It Works.  All folders in the Weinberg Dean's Office are SAFER folders by default.  Furthermore, when you put in the URL of a folder into the Register a Subfolder form, the system will tell you if it's already a SAFER-registered folder.  The Box interface online will also have purple tags that say "sensitive" on SAFER-registered folders.  Your organization's Stewards will also know which folders are in a SAFER share and which are not.      

I think I need access (or someone else does) to certain folders, but I don't know who the Stewards are and I don't know whom to ask for permission.

  • The list of Stewards should be available to all employees of your organization. The Weinberg Dean's Office list of Stewards is available to Dean's Office employees.

What is "SAFER-registered?" What is a "SAFER-registered" folder?

  • By default, SAFER does not enable permissions to be changed on the folders in a SAFER Share.  Folders in a SAFER share are locked-down such that only the two Stewards can add or remove collaborators.  However, before Stewards can make those changes, the folders must be registered to enable permission changes.  Registering folders permits Stewards to make permission changes.  Read the Registering Folders section on this page: Steward Actions with Forms. Stewards can register top-level folders and subfolders, as needed, with these forms: Register a Top Level Folder and its Tree and Register a Subfolder.  See also the next answer to "Can I register just a subfolder and not the top-level folder?" 

Can I register just a subfolder and not the top-level folder?

  • No, the top-level folder must exist in a SAFER share and must be registered.  That process also requires appointing two indiviudals to serve as Stewards for the top-level folder. You cannot register just a subfolder and not the top-level first. If you created the top level folder with the Create a Top-Level Folder form, it is registered immediately as part of that process.  However, if you moved a folder tree into the SAFER share, the tree must be registered beginning with the top-level folder.  You may want to consider this: you can add individual collaborators to a subfolder in a SAFER Share whom you do not want to have permission to the Top-Level Folder. See the section of this site on Waterfall Permissions for more information on how to organize your folders for maximum security.  To modify access to a subfolder, first register the top-level folder (if it isn't already registered), then register the subfolder in question (if it isn't already registered).  Use the Register a Top Level Folder and its Tree Form to designate the top-level folder.  Then use the Register a Subfolder Form for the subfolder, if needed.  However, if you use the Register a Top Level Folder and its Tree form, it may also register your subfolder in the process if its collaborator set differs from its parent's.  To modify anyone's access to an already registered folder, use the Change Collaborator Access form.  See above for the answer to How do you know if folders are SAFER-registered or not? 

I'm a Director and I've just been notified that a Steward transfer (or other action) has taken place that I don't agree with. What should I do?

  • Notify the Steward who made the change that you want the change reversed or altered. One of the two standing Stewards can re-instate the departed Steward or designate a new Steward entirely with the Replace a Steward form. If this is not possible because of Stewards being unavailable, please contact Weinberg IT.

I'm an Org Admin and I realized that a Director has left and needs to be replaced. How do I replace them?

  • Log in to the admin site and replace the Director as soon as possible.

There's a folder that potentially has sensitive data in it and maybe should be managed by SAFER. How do I know if that's necessary?

  • Follow the guidelines of the University Data Access Policy to determine if there is sensitive data in your folder(s). Then, if so, you can work with Weinberg IT to move your folders into a SAFER Share.  Contact us to let us know you're interested.  

Will anything happen to existing permissions on a folder if I register it?

  • Permissions will remain the same as they are today once the folder and its tree are registered, except if anyone has access above the folder you are moving into a SAFER share. In that case, that person's Box account will no longer have access to the folder once it is moved. Weinberg IT can ensure access is restored as part of the move process.  However, the act of registering simply a subfolder will not change its access in any way.  Read the section on registering folders on this page: Steward Actions with Forms.  

I want to move a folder from a non-sensitive folder into a SAFER folder. What will happen if I do that?

  • If you move a folder out from a non-sensitive folder tree into a SAFER one, anyone who had permissions to the folder when it was not sensitive who does not already have permissions in the new SAFER folder tree will have their permissions stripped from the folder. Only the permissions inherited from the SAFER folder tree will remain - differing permissions will be stripped. This stripping process exists to maintain the access integrity of the SAFER folder tree to only certain people as intentionally approved by Stewards. To re-add someone's permissions back, the appropriate Stewards need to use the Change Collaborator Access form.  Please note that the stewards of the SAFER folder tree will be notified of this move.  

I want to move a folder from a SAFER share to a non-sensitive one. What will happen if I do that?

  • Sensitive data should not be moved out of SAFER shares. Ensure first that all the folders and subfolders you are moving do not contain sensitive data.  However, if you also have access to the destination folder, you can move your folders into it.  Please note that the stewards of the original SAFER folder tree will be notified of this move.  

I want to grant access to a SAFER folder to someone outside of the Northwestern community. How do I do that?

  • Use the Change Collaborator Access form or the Register a Subfolder form and add your external collaborators with their email addresses.  Leave the NetID field blank. Note that your external collaborators may have "auto-accept" off in Box for folder invites and so they would then have to accept the invitation in their email first in order to have access, after both stewards approve.  Until then, they will be listed in Box as a "pending" collaborator.  External collaborators cannot be stewards.  

I want to change the name of a folder. Is there a form for that?

  • No, you can make that change yourself in the Box interface, if you are an editor of that folder.  SAFER will take note of the change and let the stewards know there's a new name in town. 

There is a "pending" status next to one of my collaborators. What does that mean? 

  • Pending status means either that your Northwestern collaborator has never logged into their Box account and they need to, or it means that your external collaborator has not accepted your invite to the folder in their email yet and they need to.
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