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Wilfrid Laurier University Information and Communication Technologies
February 14, 2016

Canadian Excellence

Encryption of Confidential Data

The ICT department would like to advise the Laurier community that confidential information saved on latops, USB flash drives and home computers must be encrypted to avoid disclosure due to theft, loss or malware.

All laptop computers and home computers that are used to store Laurier confidential information should be password protected and it is proper to put passwords on important files. However, neither of these measures provides enterprise level protection for confidential information. Hard drives can be removed from computers and document passwords are relatively easy to crack.

We recommend standard Windows folder encryption for Laurier confidential information stored on laptops and home computers. Encryption requires the NTFS file system. Most systems installed in the last five years will be using NTFS.

A Windows folder is encrypted as follows:

1. Right click on any Windows folder (we recommend creating a special windows folder in directory C:Documents and SetttingusernameMy Documents)
2. Click on Properties
3. Click on Advanced
4. Check the Encrypt contents to secure data box
5. Click on OK
6. Click on OK

Once a folder has been configured as encrypted, any file created in or moved to that folder will also be encrypted. The files will be unreadable if your disk drive is removed and connected to another third party computer.

Only place important files in a confidential folder, there is usually no reason to encrypt pictures or music.

We recommend that Laurier confidential information should only be saved on a USB flash drive if that drive has hardware encryption. One such device is called IronKey. A hardware encrypted USB flash drive can be used securely on any computer.

Questions: please contact