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: hard drive/file encryption and Virtual Private Network (VPN) software.

Hard Drive and/or File Encryption:

When you have no option other than to store highly sensitive data on your individual-use computer or media, and such storage has been approved, you must encrypt your hard drive or the relevant files on your computer's 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.

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. For guidance, please check with your LSP and with us by emailing [email protected]. Health Information and Technology (HIT) users should use encryption methods the HIT Security Office recommends.

Contact [email protected] with any questions.

The Virtual Private Network (VPN):

A VPN creates a private network over a public network as if you were directly connected to the private network.   It also encrypts (scrambles) data as it is transmitted between your computing 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.

Both ITS and HIT 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 https://its.virginia.edu/identity/certificate/

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