UTSA laptop encryption program to enhance computer data security

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(Nov. 17, 2009)--To reduce the risk of revealing sensitive information if a laptop is lost or stolen, UTSA has enacted a policy requiring that all university-owned laptops be encrypted. The new mandate was approved by UTSA President Ricardo Romo, based on recommendations from the recently formed Security Strike Force.

In support of the mandate, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has begun encrypting university-owned laptop computers. Data encryption is a process that makes information on a personal computer unreadable except to the person who holds the password.

The laptop program, which is a response to UT System Security Practice Bulletin 1, is one part of the university's overall information security program.

"Encrypting UTSA laptops is a critical step in protecting our data," said Ken Pierce, UTSA vice provost for information technology.

In the first phase of the program, laptops running Windows XP will be encrypted. Laptops running other operating systems, including Macs, will be encrypted in a subsequent phase.

OIT will contact departments in advance to set the general time frame for encryption. Laptop owners will be notified approximately three weeks before their machines will be picked up for encryption.

For more information about the project, visit the Laptop Encryption Program Web site.