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Bitlocker Data Encryption Saves the Day

The “Computer” icon on your Windows desktop. Hard drives protected with Bitlocker will have a “lock” icon; unprotected drives will lack such icon.

Since 2014, Library & Technology Services (LTS) has used Bitlocker to securely encrypt files on computers running Microsoft Windows. Bitlocker prevents unauthorized access to files. Prior to Bitlocker, files stored on a computer hard drive were vulnerable even if a password had been set on the computer.

Why encrypt? A Case of laptop loss

Bitlocker encryption was especially important in 2015 when a departmental laptop computer was lost. The department was concerned because sensitive student records data was processed on that laptop. Bad publicity and monetary fines can result from data breaches, especially data governed by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and/or HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Luckily, LTS was able to confirm that the lost laptop was encrypted and data breach fears were abated.

Are you protected?

Is your computer protected with Bitlocker? Check by double-clicking the “Computer” icon on your Windows desktop. Hard drives protected with Bitlocker will have a “lock” icon; unprotected drives will lack such icon.

There is no separate code or password needed for Bitlocker; operation is seamlessly integrated into Microsoft Windows.

Bitlocker recovery key -- serve yourself!

In the event of a malfunction, Bitlocker offers an online recovery portal at https://mbam.lehigh.edu/SelfService/. You can also call the LTS Help Desk at 610-758-4357 for assistance with a recovery key. Significant changes to hardware or software configuration may also require use of the recovery link. Future developments will soon also include a Mac managed encryption product.

Approximately 1,000 Lehigh University PCs are already protected with Bitlocker, 70% of which correlate to administrative offices on campus. Academic areas are strongly encouraged to request this protection from their LTS Computing Consultant.

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