Search Information Security site


Encrypting Your Data

Data Encryption Solutions

Encryption offers protection by scrambling data, so only the owner of the key or password can read the data.

Two types of encryption are available to members of the UVa community: the VPN and hard drive/file encryption.

The Virtual Private Network (VPN): A VPN scrambles data as it is transmitted between your mobile device and a server. This allows you to access sensitive data securely stored on a remote server. It's always more secure to leave sensitive data on a server, where it is managed by a system administrator, and use a VPN to access it.

Hard Drive and/or File Encryption: When you have no option other than to store sensitive data on your hard drive, and such storage has been approved, you must encrypt your hard drive or the relevant files on your hard drive. If you lose your computer or electronic media, the encryption will protect the data and render it invisible to anyone but you, since you alone know the password. Important: Make sure you remember the password you create! If you forget it, you will not be able to access the files. Please see the Guidance on the Electronic Storage of Highly Sensitive Data for additional information. 

Anyone can encrypt their hard drive regardless of the classification of the stored data. Both Mac and Windows offer native full disk encryption. Consider LUKS for Linux. Please check with your department for guidance. Health Systems Technology Services (HSTS) users should use encryption methods the HSTS Security Office recommends.

Contact with any questions.

VPN Encryption

Both ITS and Health Systems Technology Services (HSTS) offer a VPN solution for members of the UVa community.

Before installing: You will have to download and install a personal digital certificate, and possibly, download and install a VPN client. See

If you need help: Contact your Local Support Partner (LSP), the UVa Help Desk, or the HSTS Help Desk at 434-924-5334.

Report an Information
Security Incident

Please report any level of incident, no matter how small. The Information
Security Office will evaluate the report and provide a full investigation.

Complete Report Form