Storing Highly Sensitive Data? Get Secured!

Posted: March 25, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: March 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm

By Tara Watson, Information Technology Unit

With the recent revision of University Policy #1114, Data Stewardship Policy, Mason now requires all highly sensitive data (HSD) to be encrypted when locally stored to protect against exposure, loss or theft.

This procedure brings an increased level of security to Mason’s daily operations. As part of this safeguard, storage of HSD on an employee’s computer or external device must first be approved by a Chief Data Steward. Once authorized to store HSD, additional security software will be installed on the user’s system(s) to meet these new requirements.

What is HSD at Mason?  HSD is data of a personal nature that can lead to identity theft or exposure of personal health information, if compromised.

It can also be any information requiring a high level of security as it relates to the university’s ability to operate, its reputation or its risk for legal action or penalty.

A collection of social security numbers, credit card accounts, health records or passwords, attached with personal ID information, are some examples of Mason’s HSD.

Employees currently storing or needing to store Mason HSD on an office or laptop computer, or any removable storage media (flash drives, CDs), must visit the ITU Security web site to complete the online application process.

This site will guide users through the entire process for obtaining permission to store HSD. It will also provide answers to FAQs and a detailed definition of HSD as it relates specifically to Mason. The application is live; submitted requests will initiate the approval process.

This procedure is critical to securing HSD and keeping the entire Mason community safe in the workplace.

Write to gazette at