Disk encryption is software or hardware that protects data on a computer by converting it into code that cannot be deciphered easily by unauthorized people, preventing unapproved access to data on the computer.

If a computer is lost or stolen, the data inside is inaccessible without the Brandeis username and password of the faculty or staff member who was issued the computer.

How Does Encryption Work?

Think of encryption as a lock on the front door; a key is required in order to enter, but once inside, you have free access to to the entire building. At Brandeis, Windows computers are encrypted with Bitlocker and Macintosh computers are encrypted with FileVault software.

How Do I Get Started with Encryption?

Before your computer can be encrypted, ITS staff will visit to set up CrashPlan backup software, as well as security software: Symantec Endpoint Protection, Malwarebytes (for Windows computers only), and Identity Finder. About a week later when the CrashPlan backup is complete, ITS staff will ask you to reboot your computer and leave it turned on at the end of the day to undergo overnight encryption. (If you use a Mac, after you reboot at the end of the day, you will see a prompt that will ask you to Enable FileVault now to continue. Once you click "Enable now" the computer will reboot and begin encryption.) If it is a laptop, please be sure to plug it in so it doesn’t run out of power during encryption. That's it!

How long does disk encryption take?

In most cases encryption will finish during the night.  If for any reason your computer is still encrypting when you return in the morning, don’t worry; it is safe to use your computer normally, though you might experience some temporary slowness until encryption is complete.

If my computer is encrypted, will I have to do anything special to log in?

No. You will log in and use your computer as you usually do.

What computers will be encrypted?

Currently, all centrally funded university Macintosh and Windows computers are encrypted.

How do I know if my computer is encrypted?

The answer depends on whether you use a Windows computer or a Macintosh computer

For Windows computers:  Click on the Start button, and then click on Computer in the right hand column.  The icon that shows your hard drive will have a lock and key on it.

For Macintosh computers:  Click on System Preferences, and then click on Security and Privacy, then choose the FileVault tab.  This message will display: "FileVault is turned on for the disk "Macintosh HD".