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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

New Standard Around Electronic Communications

Effective Date: October 14, 2022

A new University information security standard designed to ensure the integrity and security of Northwestern systems and data goes into effect on Wednesday, November 30. The Electronic Communications Standard (ECS), which is currently available on the Northwestern IT website, applies to all members of the University community who access Northwestern’s electronic communications systems.

The ECS primarily sets expectations for using Northwestern-owned and Northwestern-managed communication platforms for University business, including email, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing. Put simply, all email, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing for University business must be conducted on a platform provided by and/or approved by Northwestern IT for that purpose.

While the most significant impact will be on individuals who auto-forward their emails to external email systems (e.g., Gmail), nothing will “stop working” for these individuals when the standard goes into effect on November 30. Northwestern’s Information Security Office is partnering with Technology Leaders across campus to reach out to individuals currently forwarding emails off-campus to notify them of this new standard and address any concerns.

“This new standard is part of a larger security and privacy initiative aimed at reviewing and consolidating more than 60-plus information-technology-related policies across Northwestern,” said Brandon Grill, senior director for technology planning and security. “Simplifying the number of policies not only ensures our campus community can digest the University’s security and privacy expectations, but it allows us to stay current with the ever-evolving technology industry and nimbly act when changes are necessary.”

You can access the new standard on Northwestern IT’s website. Any questions about the information can be directed to Brandon Grill at