Easy File and Email Management: Special Purpose Accounts (SPAs)

December 3, 2021

This article talks you through how (and why!) to use Special Purpose Accounts (SPAs) to manage access to files in Google Suite. Users can view all SPAs that they have access to at spa.berkeley.edu

What is a SPA?

Special Purpose Accounts, or SPA Accounts, are CalNet accounts that can be shared with multiple users for collaboration and file sharing. Unlike an individual’s account, SPAs - and any resources they manage - are owned by the primary department of the employee who creates the SPA at the time the SPA is created. 

For example, say that I create and use a SPA account for my role, then if I leave that department, I simply grant someone in that office access to the SPA and the next person who is hired can inherit all the important, historical, and instructional documents I created in my role. 

Why should I use a SPA?

Using SPAs will help to ensure that your department’s Google files and resources remain with your department.Creating a SPA for your department (or for a  role like a Director, or Dean, etc.) has the following applications:

  • Create Shared Drives for departmental ownership and managed access within bDrive.

  • Create a Spa-owned Zoom account.

  • Departmental email address with delegated access as needed.

  • Shared department calendars for vacations, meetings, events, etc.

  • Role-based access to key documents, calendars, and other resources.

How do I create a SPA?

Follow our steps for how to create a SPA account.

Configure a bMail account for the SPA

SPAs may also be used for sending emails on behalf of a department or role. After you create the SPA, follow these instructions to connect it to a bMail account

Note: Since Berkeley business may be conducted through the SPA’s email account. Ensure that you, or someone in your department, is seeing this correspondence by either:

Create a SPA-Owned Shared Drive

  1. Open a different browser or use an incognito/private window. Go to http://bdrive.berkeley.edu/

  2. When the CalNet Authentication Service asks for your CalNet ID you will need to log in as the SPA account and not as yourself

  3. When prompted, log in as follows:

    1. CalNet ID: +[YourCalNetID] (that's the "plus" sign in front of your CalNetID).

    2. Passphrase: Your personal CalNet passphrase

    3. Click: Sign In

  1. From the drop-down menu, select the name of the SPA account that you want to log in to and click Sign In.

  2. Once you have logged into the SPA, click on “Shared drives” in the left side menu and then click on the “New” button

Move all your Google docs to the Shared Drive

To be able to move files into your SPA-owned Shared Drive you must first share the SPA Shared Drive with your Berkeley.edu account. Now you can log into your Berkeley.edu bDrive and see the Shared Drive and move files. 

Delegate access to the SPA

There are two ways to grant access to your SPA - Direct Membership and Delegated Access. 

Direct Members:

Users who are Direct Members have special access rights to the SPA

  • Each CalNet SPA can have any number of Direct Members
  • Are active campus employees, affiliates or students
  • Have administrative access to their CalNet SPAs, including:
  • Creating a bConnected key to access the affiliated bMail account from a mobile device

Delegated Access

Users with Delegated Access have limited access rights to the SPA. They:

  • Can access the bMail account affiliated with the SPA via their own bMail account.

  • Can send email (on behalf of) the SPA-affiliated bMail account.

  • Cannot manage membership in CalGroups.

  • Cannot delegate access to others.

For more information:

If you have any questions regarding SPAs, please contact calnet-admin@berkeley.edu

Encourage the use of SPA accounts for departmental or role-based University business by posting this flyer up in your office area: 

Click on the image below to download the flyer.

Flyer for how to Create a SPA account