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Physical Security Protects Data Too

Employing good physical security practices does not have to include hiring a detachment of the queen's guard for your campus (though this might be a nice attraction for prospective students!). Instead, just getting the word out to your community about the importance of a few basic physical security tips can substantially improve your institution's security risk profile. Below are some tips to share with your community:

  • Prevent tailgating. In the physical security world, tailgating is when an unauthorized person follows someone into a restricted space. Be aware of anyone attempting to slip in behind you when entering an area with restricted access.
  • Don't allow piggyback rides. Like tailgating, piggybacking refers to an unauthorized person attempting to gain access to a restricted area by using social engineering techniques to convince the person with access to let them in. Verify unfamiliar faces are authorized.
  • Put that shred bin (or shredder) to work! Be sure to shred documents with any personal, medical, financial, or other sensitive data before throwing away. Organizing campus-wide or smaller-scale shred days can be a fun way to motivate the community to properly dispose of paper waste.  It's also a great way to recycle.
  • Be smart about recycling or disposing of old computers and mobile devices. Make sure to properly dispose of your computer and data. Turn in old UR computer to the Help Desk for safe and proper disposal.
  • Safeguard your devices. Protecting your mobile devices and computers with a strong password or PIN provides an additional layer of protection to your data in the event of theft. Set your devices to lock after a short period of inactivity; lock your computer whenever you walk away. If possible, take your mobile devices and/or laptop with you. 
  • Lock doors and drawers. Stepping away? Make sure you lock any drawers containing sensitive information and/or devices.  Lock the door behind you, if possible.
  • Encrypt sensitive information. Encryption adds an additional layer of protection to your files by using the built-in encryption tools included in your computer's operating system (e.g., BitLocker or FileVault).
  • Back up, back up, back up! Keeping only one copy of important files, especially on a location such as your computer's hard drive, is a disaster waiting to happen. Make sure your files will still be accessible in case they're lost or stolen by backing them up on a regular basis to Box®.
  • Don't leave sensitive data in plain sight. Keeping sensitive documents or removable storage media on your desk, passwords taped to your monitor, or other sensitive information in visible locations puts the data at risk to be stolen by those who would do you or your institution harm. Keep it securely locked in your drawer when not in use.
  • Secure your laptop and devices. Don't leave them unattended, even for a minute!  Avoid leaving your laptop or device in your car; if you must, lock it in your trunk before arriving at your destination. Don't invite criminals to break into your car by leaving your laptop in plain sight. 
  • Install a remote location tracking app on your mobile device and laptop. If your smartphone, tablet, or laptop is lost or stolen, applications such as Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac or Find My Device (Android) can help you to locate your devices or remotely lock and wipe them.