Before Sourcing Technology

A variety of technology support services such as email, blogging, webhosting, collaborative tools and data management are available from outside organizations and companies. These services may offer great utility, the latest technology, low cost, and other very attractive benefits, but there are risks.

Although it is easy to find such services online, you must consider all consequences and risks before you sign up. Don't be tempted to bypass department or campus review simply because the product is "free" or very low-cost — there are important Terms and Conditions that such reviews cover.

Before "sourcing" technology offsite, campus individuals, departments, managers, and support staff must consider risks to the following:
  • privacy and confidentiality of personal, sensitive, or restricted information
  • availability of business data and electronic communications (e.g., backup retrieval, evidence for legal disputes)
  • cyber security and support for forensics
  • access to records in the event a company is acquired or goes out of business

Resource stewardship

When you process, store, or otherwise use University information (such as information about colleagues, research subjects, correspondents, customers, etc.) in an off-campus site, legal and business consequences need to be expertly reviewed, documented in writing, and must be accepted or modified by an authorized individual for your department or the Berkeley campus.

Note that credit card transactions are strictly regulated. See Billing & Payment Services' Accepting Credit Cards for Payment.

Representing the University

Activities of the University of California, Berkeley — even when sourced offsite — are governed by University policies and applicable laws. See the Campus Online Activities Policy, especially the sections on Use of the University Name or SealSponsorship, advertising, or other forms of acknowledgment, and Relationships with Vendors.


The following documents offer additional pointers to help you conduct risk assessment and decide whether to source your technological services:

Service resources