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New UMMS Encryption Policy

Posted On: Tuesday, November 03, 2015 Posted By: Traci Heikkinen Tags: Security

Did you know that UMass Medical School has a new encryption policy? As a result, all UMMS desktops and laptops with access to highly restricted or confidential data must be encrypted. Here are a few Q&A's about encryption.

Q: How do I encrypt my computer?
A: Call the help desk! We can coordinate encryption remotely.

Q: Why do I need to encrypt my computer?
A: The number one cause of a breach is a lost or stolen device that is UNENCRYPTED! It’s important to stay off the front pages by using a technology that's like locking your front door. Common sense practices protect us all.

Q: I don’t want to encrypt.
A: If you access or store highly restricted and/or confidential data, the University has decided that it’s important enough to make this a requirement. McAfee and File Vault whole disk encryption services are available for both Windows and Macintosh desktop and laptop computers. There’s virtually NO impact to computer performance from encryption!  Our policy does state that if a user does not access protected data, then they are not required to encrypt.  IT advises encryption for everyone, however.

Q: My computer’s already encrypted… I think….
A: Here’s how you can check.  It’s different for Macs and Windows computers.


  1. You can check the system status by clicking on the McAfee icon in the system tray -> "Quick Settings" -> "Show Endpoint Encryption Status"
  2. Checkpoint System tray - A picture of a yellow lock, hover over and it should report on encryption


  1. From the command line (either remotely, or locally) enter the following command string: sudo fdesetup status

If you have any trouble call the help desk at 508-856-8643.