Data security is everyone's responsibility, whether it is a personally owned or college-assigned computer or laptop. It is imperative you take special precautions when using sensitive data (e.g., personal, financial, or health, data). To the fullest extent possible, users should be diligent about safeguarding sensitive data from unnecessary exposure due to theft or loss.
Data Protection Recommendations
- Limit risk! Don't store sensitive data on personal devices or locally on college devices. GRC data should always remain on GRC resources like OneDrive, SharePoint, or a network drive.
- If you must store sensitive data on your device, use encryption
- When transmitting sensitive data, use Teams, OneDrive, or an encrypted email
- Install remote data destruction software to ensure secure deletion of sensitive data in the event your computer or laptop is lost or stolen
Remote Data Destruction
In the unfortunate event that your personal computer or laptop is ever lost or stolen, a remote data destruction product can help secure sensitive data by allowing you to remotely and securely delete all data stored on the machine. Most remote data destruction vendors provide customers with access to a website where authorized users can send a signal, over the Internet, to the software agent installed on the missing device which will prompt the agent to initiate a secure deletion procedure and then return the results.
Encryption offers the best level of data protection. Even if someone gains physical access to your device, they won’t be able to decrypt the files to see or gain access to the sensitive data stored on it. Encryption offers protection by scrambling data using a key, only the owner of the key can decrypt and read the data.
Encryption products typically offer encryption at either the file and folder level, allow you to create encrypted “partitions” which basically mount as virtual drives, or provide whole disk encryption where your entire hard drive is encrypted automatically, and access requires pre-boot authentication.