Summary: This article describes the governance by which the name spaces of websites, webpages, servers, and applications that represent Baylor College of Medicine are developed and maintained.

Approving Authority: Office of Communications & Community Outreach

Last Updated: Nov. 27, 2018 

Purpose: The purpose of this governance is to ensure the standardized organization, naming, and secure handling of domains in which websites, web pages and applications that represent Baylor College of Medicine reside. 

Scope: This governance applies to all websites, webpages, and applications within Baylor College of Medicine sponsored name space(s) including websites and webpages that do not exist on a Baylor root server and multi-institutional projects or entities that exist temporarily at Baylor.

Definitions

Domain Name

An identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the internet. The hierarchy of domains descends from right to left; each label to the left specifies a subdivision, or subdomain, of the domain to the right. 

Top-level Domain

A top-level domain is the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot. Baylor uses .edu as its top level domain.

Redirect

A way to forward visitors and search engines from one URL to another. This is useful when moving content to a new URL, when deleting pages or when changing domain names or merging websites. In addition, a redirect is an opportunity to create a short URL for marketing purposes.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

Also known as a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it.   

Web (root) Server

Hardware or software dedicated to store, process and deliver web pages and applications to clients.  

Load Balancers 

Load balancers distribute workloads across servers.

Responsibilities

Naming Standards

The Office of Communications & Community Outreach, specifically Institutional Web Management, is responsible for ensuring all domain names adhere to branding guidelines and Baylor directives. 

Review and Approval

Institutional Web Managementis responsible for reviewing and processing all requests for new or updated domain names.

Site owners are responsible for submitting all such requests to Institutional Web Management for review via the IT Service Portal.

Server, Load Balancers, and Security

The Office of Information Technology Enterprise Technology is responsible for ensuring all web pages, websites, and applications in a Baylor-sponsored domain are owned by Baylor and placed behind enterprise load balancers and security devices. 

Guidelines

Naming Standards

a. The approved top-level domain for Baylor College of Medicine is bcm.edu. Vanity domains such as .org , .com, .net are not permitted without approval from the Office of Communications & Community Outreach, Institutional Web Management.
b. Domain extensions must use bcm.edu and not “baylor”.
c. Name extensions to bcm.edu are subject to approval by Office of Communications and Community Outreach, Institutional Web Management.
d. All domain names and extensions must be in adherence to branding guidelines.
e. Third level names (e.g. <name>.bcm.edu) are reserved for enterprise-wide purposes and will normally not be approved outside of IT-managed websites.

Server, Load Balancers, and Security

a. The URL of all websites, webpages, and applications, including those not maintained by the Office of Information Technology, representing Baylor College of Medicine must live within the bcm.edu domain and registered with the Office of Information Technology’s Domain Management Group.
b. All domains, including those not maintained by the Office of Information Technology, must reside on a College owned server existing within the Baylor College of Medicine secured perimeter.
c. All domain names representing Baylor College of Medicine must be owned by Baylor College of Medicine. Domain names are considered intellectual property of Baylor College of Medicine. Content not approved by Institutional Web Management may be required to be removed from unofficial site.
d. Any site utilizing a Baylor domain name must comply with Baylor security policies.

Processes

Request for a new/updated domain name including exceptions:

Any change in a domain names representing Baylor College of Medicine should be requested through the IT Service Portal, including non bcm.edu domains. The request will be reviewed by Information Technology and Institutional Web Management. 

Request for a URL redirect

Because of the length of many Baylor College of Medicine domains, such as https://www.bcm.edu/departments/molecular-and-human-genetics, redirects may be requested for marketing / promotional purposes.  Requests for redirects can be made through BCM Service Portal. The requests for a redirect will be reviewed by Institutional Web Management. Requirements for a URL redirect include: 

Redirect must include short description of page. For example, using https://www.bcm.edu/genetics for the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics’ website.

Redirects should not include acronyms, should not include the word ‘Baylor’ unless approved and should not include names of individuals.

Renewal of existing non-BCM.edu domains:

If a domain name other than .edu has been approved, It must be registered with IT’s Network Solutions to ensure the domain ownership remains valid.  IT will reach out to departments on record for renewal 30 days in advance of the domain expiration date. Department administrators/domain contacts should:

Receive a copy of the domain renewal notice from OIT; be provided a form to complete cost center chargeback information for renewal; must return the cost center chargeback at a minimum of two weeks prior to expiration date as noted; additional information may be requested through the BCM Service Portal.

Exceptions

Exceptions to this policy may include web applications that are not able to run in the College’s root server or content management system. Prior approval must be obtained from Institutional Web Management before launching such applications. The requester must demonstrate continued ability to maintain both the web application and any underlying servers. Servers will undergo initial and periodic risk assessments. Naming conventions for such stand alone servers would be as follows: name.research.bcm.edu or name.clinical.bcm.edu. 

Exceptions to this policy may include multi-institutional projects or entities that are temporarily at Baylor, such as an editorship of a journal, or specialized web sites that are required by regulation. These must be submitted to Institutional Web Management for approval.

Nonconformities

Deviations from this guidance will not be set up within the enterprise domain without approval from Institutional Web Management.

Any third-party sites that are found to deviate from this guidance without approval from Institutional Web Management will not be linked to from the enterprise domain including any variation to the top-level domain (bcm.edu) and may be shut down.  

*Note: Policies cited in the Digital Governance document (approved by the Board and published in March 2019) supersede any previous agreement, policy and/or guideline.