Update: OIT establishes laptop encryption center, information website

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(July 27, 2012) -- In order to protect private student records and scholarly data, the University of Texas System requires that all laptop computers owned by UT institutions be encrypted by the end of August.

At UTSA, approximately 4,000 laptop computers used by UTSA faculty and staff members must be encrypted by Aug. 28; this includes 2,500 un-encrypted laptops and another 1,500 previously encrypted that must be re-encrypted with the newer software tool, SecureDoc.

Adding encryption software dramatically reduces the chances that sensitive data will be compromised if the laptop is lost or stolen. In 2007, the UT System adopted a policy requiring encryption of laptops storing sensitive data, which helped avoid a number of data exposures. The new policy will virtually eliminate data exposure because of the comprehensive mandate.

Encryption policy guidelines:

  • The mandate pertains to all laptops regardless of operating system (Windows or Mac).
  • Laptops older than seven years (as of September 1, 2012) must be sent to UTSA Surplus because they are not configured to accept the encryption software and still operate in an acceptable manner.
  • Laptops between five and seven years old (as of Sept. 1, 2012) may be encrypted if the configuration software allows it. Any laptop that cannot be encrypted must be sent to UTSA Surplus.
  • Laptops that previously were encrypted with BitLocker, TrueCrypt or FileVault (Mac) must be decrypted and re-encrypted with SecureDoc.

For any faculty or staff member with a UTSA-owned laptop:

  • Your laptop can be encrypted either by the local technology support personnel (usually referred to as an Information Technology Associate or ITA) assigned to your department or college or by scheduling an appointment to bring your laptop to the Laptop Encryption Center in McKinney Humanities Building Room 2.02.02, Main Campus.
  • If you do not have an ITA assigned to your area, email LEC@utsa.edu or call 210-458-7648 to schedule a date to bring your laptop to the center for encryption.
  • It is recommended that you install all operating system updates before having your laptop encrypted.
  • Although it is highly recommended, laptops do not need to be joined to the UTSARR domain to be encrypted.
  • The laptop user is responsible for backing up data before delivering the laptop for encryption. (OIT Support Services will provide guidance with the backup process.) While under most circumstances there will not be any data loss, on rare occasions, a computer may experience problems during the encryption process.

Employees who do not take the appropriate steps to ensure their assigned laptops are encrypted by Aug. 28 may experience account lockouts and/or loss of Internet access from UTSA campuses.

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>> Read details at the Laptop Encryption Project website. Check the website on a regular basis; the site will be updated as new information is available.

>> Questions? Email LEC@utsa.edu or call the Laptop Encryption Center at 210-458-7648.