Office of the Chief Information Security Officer

Encryption for Faculty & Staff

Your role within the University carries a great deal of responsibility. Every day, you are entrusted to handle the sensitive information of the University’s students, employees, teaching and learning, research, and administration. Many people pass through your office daily, some of whom you know, many of whom you don’t. One afternoon, you return to your desk after lunch to find that someone has taken your laptop.

Encrypt to protect

Secure Your Own Device

What did they take?

It’s more than a piece of hardware — that laptop could contain faculty CVs, academic papers, and confidential grant applications. Employee and student records could be saved on that hard drive, along with along with your pay statements, banking information, and social insurance number. You may have backups of all your work, and you may have protected your laptop with a password. But if it’s not encrypted, the thief who stole it can bypass your password and access all that information.

From Australia to the UK to the US, unencrypted university laptops are lost or stolen at an alarming rate. A study by Kensington showed that one laptop is stolen every 53 seconds, 52% are stolen from the office or workplace, and 24% are stolen from conferences.

Encryption is a process that turns the information stored on your device into unintelligible text characters that cannot be deciphered and read without the decryption key. By encrypting your device, you are ensuring that if someone takes it, they cannot read what’s on it.

Encrypting your device can protect:

  • the personal information of the University’s staff and students;
  • confidential information about the institution;
  • stakeholder information;
  • class materials, grades, assignments and exams;
  • intellectual property;
  • student and employee records.

Working on Your Personal Computer: 

If a laptop containing sensitive personal information is taken off site, the data should be password protected and encrypted. The laptop should be in your control at all times. Consider locking laptops in a secure place after working on them at home. 

PER Fund

Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) funded electronic and mobile devices are intended for University teaching, learning, research, and administration. Devices bought through PER funding must be encrypted.

Research Grants

Researchers often purchase mobile devices with grant money to use for their research. These devices can contain University-sensitive information. Any device containing University-sensitive information, including devices bought with research grants, must be encrypted.


* "The Billion Dollar Lost Laptop Problem." Intel.