TCNJ Computer Encryption

Q: What is laptop encryption, and what does it do?

A: Disk encryption is a technology which protects information by converting it into unreadable code that cannot be deciphered easily by unauthorized people. Disk encryption uses disk encryption software or hardware to encrypt every bit of data that goes on a disk or disk volume. Disk encryption prevents unauthorized access to data storage.

Q: Do I have to encrypt my laptop?

A: All college purchased laptops must be encrypted using the IT managed encryption system. This is to help protect you if you store, send, or receive any of the following types of data, such as:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Financial information, such as credit card and bank account numbers
  • Protected Health Information as defined by HIPAA
  • Research information

Many people receive and store this information on their laptops, even if they do not realize it, which is why we are requiring laptop encryption across the institution.

Q: What type of encryption software does IT use?

A: IT uses Bitlocker for Windows laptops and Apple’s FileVault 2 for Mac laptops.

Q: I have a desktop computer that stores confidential data listed above. Can that be encrypted?

A: Yes, if the desktop is in an unsecured or open area or if it has confidential data you should have it encrypted. Please submit a request to your Support Specialist. We will contact you to discuss encryption options.

Q: Does Bitlocker and FileVault encrypt my entire hard drive?

A: Yes, Many types of encryption software do not encrypt the entire drive, but our chosen solutions use “Full Disk Encryption”, which means every byte of your hard drive will be encrypted.

Q: How long does it take to encrypt my hard drive?

A: It takes about 15 minutes to configure the encryption policy, and then between 4 and 10 hours to finish the encryption, during which time you can use your computer normally. After the initial encryption is complete, the encryption should not disturb you while you work.

Q: Will my computer run slower once it is encrypted?

A: Many users do not experience any performance impact as a result of encryption; however, results may vary depending upon system specification and configuration.

Q: Should I back up my computer before it is encrypted?

A: While we do not anticipate having any problems during the encryption process, it is always a good practice to back up your data before encrypting your laptop. IT will do a full system backup at the time of your initial encryption, but continued backups are recommended.

Q. If I have a personally owned laptop that has sensitive data, can IT encrypt the hard drive?

A: Our encryption licenses only cover TCNJ owned equipment. There are several encryption products available through retail outlets for personally owned equipment. Bitlocker and Filevault are available on most versions of Windows and MacOS.

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Article ID: 17526
Tue 10/18/16 10:19 AM
Thu 6/15/23 2:46 PM