Computer Encryption

What is Data Encryption?

Encryption technology can protect information that is stored on a computer hard drive by making it more difficult for unauthorized users to access that data. Disk drive encryption technology scrambles the data stored on the computer’s hard drive, so that it is unreadable unless the user has the correct key to unscramble the data.

Windows Encryption

All Windows computers at DePaul that are imaged by DePaul’s Information Services department come configured with Microsoft’s BitLocker encryption technology. This is seamless to the user and allows Information Services to fully support users in the event of hardware issues or configuration changes. More information on BitLocker can be found here.

Mac Encryption

Mac users can make use of Apple’s FileVault technology. FileVault is somewhat similar to BitLocker, in that it provides for the encryption of the hard drive in a Mac computer. FileVault is not something that is centrally administered by Information Services, and must be set up by the individual user. Detailed instructions for how to configure FileVault on your Mac, along with the procedure to share your encryption key with Information Services in the event that you need it recovered, can be found here.

Full Disk Encryption

Full Disk Encryption refers to technology that can protect a volume of data by applying encryption, such that the entire contents of the disk is automatically encrypted/decrypted.  All DePaul owned and imaged Windows computers are encrypted with Bitlocker.  For more information on Bitlocker, please see the link below.

    Microsoft Bitlocker -

File Encryption

File encryption can be used to encrypt single files.  There are several options available. 

    Microsoft Office Encryption - You can use the builtin encryption capabilities of Microsoft Office products to encrypt individual documents. To access this feature in Word or Excel, go to File -> Info -> Protect Document -> Encrypt with Password
    7-Zip - This popular, free compression software allows you to encrypt any file as you compress it.
    AxCrypt - Axcrypt integrates with Windows to compress, encrypt, decrypt, store send and work with individual files. 
        GnuPG - GnuPG allows you to encrypt and sign your data and communications.  There is a Mac and Windows version.
        If you use these products, be sure and store your password or software key somewhere safe.