15.25 – IT Investigation

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Administrative Rules and Procedures Chapter 15 | Information Management and Data Security

Responsible Executive: Chief of Staff

Responsible Administrator:

Last Updated: 08/13/2019



Revision History:

09/01/2023 Title change from "chancellor" to "president"; "provost and senior vice president for academic affairs" to "provost and chief academic officer"; "campus president" to "Chancellor – NMSU System Community College" 
08/13/2019 Rule implemented by Chancellor


  1. Definition of IT Investigation: An IT investigation consists of accessing, duplicating, searching, gathering, organizing and providing data from NMSU computer systems, user accounts and data repositories maintained on NMSU owned or controlled resources in response to a request from an authorized official’s request in accordance with this rule.
  2. Authority to Conduct IT Investigations: This rule recognizes the authority of the Information Security (InfoSec) and Privacy/Compliance departments within NMSU Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), to conduct IT investigations in response to requests from authorized university officials, as their respective positions may require for official university business.
    1. Unless a specific exception applies, all requests for IT investigative assistance and support must be made in accordance with this rule.
    2. The routine gathering of digital data by the university’s various NMSU data stewards (e.g. to respond to requests for inspection of public information or to respond to student requests under FERPA) is not considered an “IT Investigation”.  However, if a data steward requires investigative assistance from ICT, this rule will apply.
    3. Individual departments are not authorized to conduct IT investigations, as defined in this rule.
    4. If an NMSU supervisor or employee believes IT investigation is necessary to support their work, they must coordinate through their dean, vice president or equivalent authority not implicated in the allegations to contact the appropriate authority (See Part 2 C. below) to coordinate such IT investigation.
  3. Types of IT Investigations: ICT InfoSec and Privacy and Compliance departments regularly respond to official requests to conduct IT Investigation in support of the following three types of authorized university business.  If a request does not fall into one of these categories, ICT InfoSec and/or Privacy and Compliance may seek additional clarification and approval from an authorized official before proceeding.
    1. NMSU internal investigations (e.g. personnel, audit);
    2. Legally required external requests for information (e.g. requests for inspection of public records, subpoenas); and
    3. Operational, for continuity or security of NMSU business operations.
  4. Integrity and Performance of IT Investigation: The CISO’s designees within ICT InfoSec and the IT Privacy and Compliance Officer will conduct approved IT investigations.  To preserve the integrity of an IT investigation, the maintenance of strict confidence is required by all persons involved in conducting or performing the IT investigation. Violations of confidentiality will be referred to HR and Legal Counsel for resolution.
    1. In the course of conducting IT Investigation, ICT may contract the services of a security vendor.
    2. IT investigators may task investigative duties to other IT staff both internal and external to ICT in order to facilitate the gathering of digital data to meet the requirements of the IT investigation and data protection requirements.
    3. ICT investigators are not required to disclose the purpose of the request for data to individuals tasked with assisting in the data collection or to others required to cooperate with the investigation. IT investigators will provide the identity of the official who authorized the IT investigation to those who seek verification of the official nature of the IT investigation.
    4. All IT investigators are required to follow the data protection requirements mandated by the type of regulated digital data being viewed or collected for an investigation and are not required to inform the data owner or data steward that the data is being accessed.
    5. IT Investigations may indicate or confirm an IT Incident subject to corresponding contractual or reporting requirements; the IT compliance officer will determine the specific reporting requirements and coordinate with appropriate university administrators through the ClO.
    6. Discovery of lawful digital data, violating NMSU policy, but not material to the approved investigation, will be reported to the chief legal affairs officer for review.
    7. If an IT investigation results in the suspicion or discovery of child pornography, the investigator must immediately halt the investigation and contact the NMSU police department.



When there is a reasonable suspicion that a law and/or university policy, rule or procedure has been violated (e.g. internal HR or Internal Audit investigation), or when litigation is reasonably anticipated, the university’s internal investigative response may involve a request for IT investigation.

  1. Notice to CISO: A request for IT investigation in support of an internal NMSU investigation must be directed to ICT InfoSec’s chief information security officer (CISO).
  2. Notice to Chief Legal Affairs Officer: Authorizing officials must refer to the chief legal affairs officer requests for investigation pertaining to matters that involve reasonably anticipated litigation.
  3. NMSU Officials Authorized to Request IT Investigation: The following officials may request an IT investigation relating to an internal NMSU investigation within the scope of their area of responsibility or jurisdiction by submitting a written request to the CISO or designee.  The requesting official must provide the constraints relating to the data requested, as well as confidentiality and delivery date requirements, after which ICT will commence the IT Investigation.
    1. President
    2. Chancellor – NMSU System Community College
    3. Provost and Chief Academic Officer
    4. Chief Legal Affairs Officer and UGC attorneys
    5. AVP HRS
    6. Dean of Students
    7. Director of Office of Institutional Equity
    8. Chief Audit Officer
    9. NMSU Police Chief
    10. IT Compliance Officer



NMSU receives a variety of external requests for data stored in the university’s IT records which may necessitate IT investigation.  IT investigation in support of external requests made to the various departments will be initiated after validation of the request, and assignment by the CISO.

  1. Validation of Request: NMSU Chief Legal Affairs Officer, in consultation with NMSU Police Chief in matters involving outside law enforcement agencies, determines the legitimacy of all external requests involving access or production of records from IT data.
  2. Assignment by CISO: Valid external requests for IT investigation must be directed to ICT InfoSec’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for review and assignment to a designee within  ICT InfoSec or Privacy and Compliance designee.



Information Technology staff throughout the NMSU system perform routine operational functions which relate to business continuity and security and which are subject to this rule.

  1. Initiation of IT Investigation: Operational IT investigations are initiated by IT staff, without the need for other authorization, but must be based on a reported or observed system failure, error, or performance anomaly or reasonable suspicion of a data breach, data loss, other compliance violation or possible harm to the institution exists, any of which would constitute an IT Incident.
  2. Notification to NMSU CIO, CISO or IT Compliance Officer: IT staff must promptly notify the NMSU chief information officer (CIO), CISO or IT compliance officer when:
    1. an operational IT investigation determines that an IT Incident may have occurred,
    2. an employee, student or affiliate becomes the focus of the investigation, or
    3. it is suspected that a crime has been committed.