OIS: FAQs: How Do I Protect Confidential Information?

How do I protect the confidential information in the University's possession?

Protect Your Passwords

Passwords are the primary mechanism for protecting confidential information. Choose strong passwords and do not disclose your passwords to anyone else, period.

Avoid Local Copies

Most confidential information at the University is stored in secure databases such as Blackboard, Banner, and FAMIS.  That's where it belongs.  Most incidents regarding confidential information involve local copies, i.e., chunks of confidential information that are stored outside these secure databases.  A classic example is the gradebook which is stored as a spreadsheet on a laptop.  The best way to avoid problems with local copies is to not create them at all.  Use Blackboard instead of an individual gradebook file.

Use Encryption

If you must use a local copy, make sure either 1) the local copy itself is encrypted or 2) the local copy is stored on an encrypted device.  Texas state law requires confidential information to be encrypted when it is either 1) stored on any portable device, 2) stored on any non-state-owned computer (e.g., your home computer, Dropbox), or 3) transmitted over the Internet.