Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month!  Each week ITS will be releasing important information to keep our community safe online. For more information about this initiative, visit the ITS Cyber Security Awareness page.


Stop prying eyes on valuable documents - encrypt!

What is encryption?

Encryption is a systematic way of scrambling information on a device or hard drive to prevent unwanted access to that information in the event that a device is lost or stolen.

Long before the computer age, encryption was used to secure important information. In this digital era, it is vital to protect confidential documents that may contain personal and/or business-related information. In fact, a core component of Queen’s University’s privacy and data security strategy involves the encryption of data and computers (including mobile devices such as tablets and removable drives).

It is best practice to keep confidential university data of any student, staff or faculty member on-site, whether it be in hard copy or digital format. Certain circumstances however, may require the access of information from off-campus.

Protect your data and devices – encrypt!

The consequences of a lost or stolen device can be very serious, leading to loss of information, breach of privacy and even to expensive fines and lawsuits. Encryption is an integral part of the Queen’s University Electronic Information Security Policy Framework.

Not all computers come with built-in encryption capabilities. Ensure that when you purchase a new computer, it is equipped with the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) microchip. Computers that have a TPM have the ability to create a cryptographic code that requires an encryption key to unlock at the initial stage of the computer's startup process. Visit the Encryption Requirements page to find out if your computer meets the requirements for encryption. When purchasing a new device from the Campus Computer Store or when having an issue resolved at the IT Support Centre (ITSC), users will be informed about this free service and the importance of encrypting Queen’s data.

There are two ways to encrypt your devices:

  1. ITS can do it for you! The ITSC offers a free encryption service to help faculty and staff protect valuable computer hard drives and data. Contact the ITSC by calling 613.533.6666 during regular business hours or fill in the online help form.
  2. Do it yourself! Visit the ITS Encryption Tutorials page and follow the instructions.

To learn more about keeping your valuable data safe, visit the ITS Encryption Best Practices webpage.

If you are concerned about the privacy of your computer and/or data, please contact our IT Support Centre by calling 613.533.6666 or fill in the online help form.

Examples of how devices and data can be lost, stolen or intercepted include:

  • Using USB drives to transfer information between computers in the office
  • Faculty or staff bringing work home from the office on a laptop, USB key or external hard drive which may contain research or confidential data
  • Teaching Assistants or Teaching Fellows saving grade-related information to a personal laptop, home computer, tablet or USB
  • Sending an email with an unsecured attachment