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By Gabe Marshall, Information Security Analyst
Data security has long been a major concern for the University of North Texas, due to the large amount of sensitive data the university manages, processes, and stores. With the recent increase in the popularity and price effectiveness of laptop computers, the threat to sensitive information used on these machines has increased greatly. Laptops in general tend to be less secure in terms of physical security, simply due to their mobility. In certain circumstances, UNT Faculty and Staff can be required to work with sensitive data while on the go. Although this is strongly discouraged, it is sometimes a necessity.
It's a cipher!
For this reason, the UNT Computing and IT Center has recently purchased an encryption solution called McAfee Endpoint Encryption. Simply put, encryption software is software designed to properly secure plain-text information by the use of mathematical algorithms (commonly referred to as ciphers) to scramble the data, making it nearly impossible to read by unauthorized individuals.
McAfee’s Endpoint Encryption product offers two types of encryption, file & folder encryption and whole-disk encryption. In short, both types of encryption offer adequate security, and differ only in implementation. File & folder encryption is simple to install, and can be used to secure specific files and folders on your laptop or desktop by requiring users to authenticate before opening them. Whole-disk encryption however will secure your entire computer, requiring you to authenticate upon booting into your operating system.
Encrypting your computers
If you are interested in encrypting your desktop or laptop machine, please request so through your network manager. It is also worth mentioning that currently the Endpoint Encryption product is only compatible with Windows operating systems. If you are using an operating system other than Windows and feel like you need encryption, please contact your network manager for possible alternative solutions.