Why encrypt?

When you use a University computer, files are stored on the network drives personal Z: drive, shared departmental X: drive and Research R: drive. Data isn’t stored on your computer, so if it was stolen no one would be able to access your data.

When you use a University staff laptop, copies of your data are stored on the laptop.  University staff laptops are set up so that your emails and personal Z: drive are copied to the laptop and synchronised so that they are available when you’re offline.

If the laptop is lost or stolen, sensitive data or emails stored on it could easily be accessed.  Encryption will prevent anyone accessing the data.

USB memory sticks are convenient but can hold a lot of data and are easily lost, therefore they are a security risk unless they’re encrypted.

There are severe penalties imposed on organisations which lose personal data stored on portable or mobile devices where adequate precautions have not been taken to prevent unauthorised access to that information. The Information Commissioner’s Office requires that organisations use encryption to achieve this protection.

Isn’t a password good enough?

No. Passwords may prevent someone from casually accessing your data, but if your laptop is lost or stolen, then it is easy to bypass this by simply removing the drive and connecting it to another computer. The data stored on the laptop is only protected if the drive is encrypted.

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