Encryption is the transformation of data into a form unreadable by anyone without the secret decryption key. Its purpose is to ensure confidentiality and privacy by keeping the information hidden from anyone for whom it is not intended. When an entire hard drive is encrypted, all the data on the drive is protected from unauthorized access if the computer is lost or stolen. Encryption can also be used to protect sensitive files that are sent through email or sensitive communications sent over the network.
SSL certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, the certificate activates the padlock icon and the https:// protocol you see on banking, e-commerce and other secure sites and allows secure connections from the web server to your browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and is becoming widely used on social media sites.
HSU applies strong (256-bit) encryption to all Level 1 protected data, and Gmail encrypts all email transmissions, ensuring that the University is in complance with ICSUAM Policy Information Security Asset Management Section 8065: Information Security Asset Management, Standard 8065.S0. For more information, please refer to the HSU ITS Procedure document Encryption Support Information.
The single most important thing to remember about any encryption process is that it is either extremely difficult or completely impossible to decrypt encrypted data if the password is lost. For this reason, we ask that you discuss any perceived encryption needs with your ITC or the Information Security Office.