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Data Security: A Multi-layered Approach

Locking Your Workstation

Best practices in data security employ a multi-layered approach.  To secure your data and protect the integrity and security of the university’s network, it is recommended that you lock your computer whenever it is turned on and you are not in the room.  When you leave your office for the day, please either lock your computer or logoff.  There are many ways to lock your computer in Windows XP or Vista.  One option is to press Ctrl+Alt+Del and click Lock Computer.  If you have a keyboard with a Windows key, another option is to use the keyboard shortcut of Windows Key + L.

Physically Securing Mobile Devices

Laptops and mobile devices should not be left unattended in an unlocked place (e.g., office, vehicle) and should be placed out of sight when not in use.

File Encryption and Password Protection

A third important layer of protecting your data is by encrypting and password protecting files with student data or other sensitive information.  This also is required for compliance with FERPA regulations.  If your computer or mobile device is ever lost, stolen, or even just left unattended, your files will be protected. Please remember the password you use to protect these files.  If you forget the password, it is very likely that you will not be able to access them again.

Microsoft Office has built in encryption and password protection that can be enabled on Office files by following the steps outlined below:

Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows

  1. Open the Office 2007 file
  2. Click on the Office Button (top left corner)
  3. Select Prepare > Encrypt document
  4. Enter a password and click OK
  5. Enter the same password again in the Confirm textbox, then click OK
  6. Save the file to apply the password and encryption

Microsoft Office 2003 for Windows

  1. Open the Office 2003 file
  2. Select the Tools from the menu bar at the top of your display
  3. Choose Options
  4. Click the Security tab
  5. Enter  a password
  6. Retype the password to confirm it
  7. Save the file to apply the password and encryption

Office 2008 for Mac

  1. Open the Mac: Office 2008 file
  2. Select the File menu
  3. Choose Save As
  4. Verify/Enter the name of the file at the top of the new window in “Save As: ___________ “
  5. Click the Options button in the bottom left
  6. If you are using Mac: Excel 2008, skip to step 8
  7. In the new window, click the Show All button at the top of your display
  8. Select Security  icon beneath the image of a lock
  9. Set the password for opening
  10. Click OK
  11. Retype the password to confirm it
  12. Save the file

Microsoft Word 2004 for Mac

  1. Open the Mac: Word 2004 document
  2. Select the File menu
  3. Choose Save As
  4. Verify/Enter the name of the file at the top of the new window in “Save As: ___________ “
  5. Click the Options button in the bottom left
  6. In the new window, click Security from the list at left
  7. Set the password for opening
  8. Click OK
  9. Retype the password to confirm it
  10. Save the document