Data Security Basics
Data security involves preventing catastrophic loss of all data (due to file corruption, natural disaster) and preventing sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. Best practices include:
- Backing up files routinely and frequently
- Storing back-ups and originals in different places, on different media
- Using and safeguarding secure passwords
- Encrypting sensitive files on laptops and portable devices
Securing a Laptop/Portable Drive
If you store sensitive data on a laptop, external hard drive, thumb drive or other portable device, you should encrypt the data in case that device is lost or stolen. There are many commercial encryption packages out there, which come with extensive documentation and customer support. Encryption features are now built into both Windows operating systems (either through Microsoft Office or the Encrypting File Service, EFS) and Apple operating systems (TrueVault).
CAVEAT: With any truly secure encryption software, only you will have the password needed to decrypt your data. If you forget that password, no one can recover it for you and you will lose access to your data. Use carefully.
Most Secure Storage Option: BMC Network Drives
A BMC network drive is one of the most secure places you can store data. A team of specialists works on securing the network against attackers and data on the network is regularly backed up so it is recoverable if something does happen.
Things you should know about network drives:
- All faculty, students, and staff have a personal folder on the network.
- Faculty and staff have access to one or more network folders associated with their department(s).
- If you need to share files with other BMC users, contact the Help Desk and ask for a shared network folder. You will need to specify the folder name, where it should be located (i.e., a subfolder of which folder?), and the Bryn Mawr user IDs of people that should have access to it.
- You can access network drives off campus.