Encryption

Personal Responsibility

Legally, you are personally and fiscally responsible for any information disclosure from your computer or mobile devices, whether accidental or not. IRT Security is here to help you protect yourself: encryption is a one-time, necessary step you can take now to prevent trouble in the future. Stanford is now requiring all computers on its network to be encrypted. Read on for details, and use the quick links to get started.

Data Security Program

The Data Security Program at the School of Medicine oversees compliance with Stanford policy and federal law. The program will be conducting ongoing assessments of the devices and the kinds of data users work with. The SoM is on track for encrypting all devices used to access Stanford resources by May 31, 2015—whether they are owned by you personally or by the University.

Find out more about the Data Security Program, and how to get your computers ready for encryption and secure backups: med.stanford.edu/datasecurity.

To check whether you and your devices are in compliance, visit amie.stanford.edu.

If you feel that, due to a specific circumstance, your computer or device cannot be successfully encrypted, read about how to apply for an exemption.

 

Data Classification: What Data Must Be Encrypted?

Stanford's new security initiatives aim for all computers accessing the Stanford network to be encrypted, so that all information at rest will automatically be encrypted. If you work remotely, you should encrypt your home computer as well. The three following classes of information must also be encrypted while in transit: via email, mobile device or portable drive.

If your machine or device cannot be encrypted for technical reasons, then you cannot store prohibited, restricted, or confidential information on it, PERIOD.

The following definitions are excerpted from Stanford University's Stanford Secure Computing's Data Classification page.

Prohibited Data

Information is classified as “Prohibited” if protection of the information is required by law/regulation, or if Stanford is required to self-report to the government and/or provide notice to the individual if information is inappropriately accessed. [Prohibited data must be removed from your hard drive unless you have explicit permission from the Data Governance Board to have it on your system. Prohibited data must be encrypted.]

Note: If a file which would otherwise be considered to be Restricted or Confidential contains any element of Prohibited Information, the entire file is considered to be Prohibited Information.

Common types of Prohibited Data include:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Credit Card Numbers
  • Financial Account Numbers, such as checking or investment account numbers
  • Driver's License Numbers
  • Health Insurance Policy ID Numbers

Restricted Data

Information is classified as “Restricted” if (i) it would otherwise qualify as “Prohibited” but it has been determined by the Data Governance Board (DGB) that prohibiting information storage on Computing Equipment would significantly reduce faculty/staff/student effectiveness when acting in support of Stanford’s mission and/or (ii) it is listed as Restricted in the Classification of Common Data Elements. [Restricted data must be encrypted.]

Common types of Restricted Data include:

  • Student Records (for special exceptions see the Data Classification Chart)
  • Protected Health Information (PHI)
  • Passport and visa numbers
  • Research and other information covered by non-disclosure agreements
  • Export controlled information under U.S. laws

Confidential Data

Information is classified as “Confidential” if (i) it is not considered to be Prohibited or Restricted and is not generally available to the public, or (ii) it is listed as Confidential in the Classification of Common Data Elements. [Confidential data is not legally required to be encrypted, but Stanford strongly recommends it.]

Common types of Confidential Data include:

  • Faculty/staff employment applications, personnel files, benefits information, salary, birth date, and personal contact information
  • Admission applications
  • Donor contact information and non-public gift amounts
  • Privileged attorney-client communications
  • Non-public Stanford policies and policy manuals
  • Stanford internal memos and email, and non-public reports, budgets, plans, and financial information
  • Non-public contracts
  • University and employee ID numbers

Resources