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November 3, 2009, Volume 56, No. 10

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

"You Can't Lose Data That You Don't Have"

A few months ago, at a peer institution, a laptop containing names and Social Security numbers of 45,000 students, faculty and staff was stolen.  This was not an isolated incident.  More and more data breaches are occurring as a result of lost or stolen laptops.  Data is also at risk when it is stored on an unsecured desktop.

The best way to avoid risks to sensitive data, to individuals, and to Penn is simply not to download sensitive data unless you absolutely must. Your Local Support Provider (LSP) can advise you on how you can instead store and access sensitive documents on properly secured departmental file servers.  They should be used whenever possible to reduce the number of points of possible data vulnerability.  If you must download sensitive data, contact your LSP for assistance in encrypting the file, securing your machine, and securely deleting the information once it is no longer necessary.

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To receive OneStepAhead  tips via email, send email to listserv@lists.upenn.edu with the following text in the body of the message:  sub one-step-ahead <your name>.

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - November 3, 2009, Volume 56, No. 10