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For support: call extension 5-Help (212-305-4357) or email us

Symantec Endpoint Encryption at CUMC

  • SEE is not the same as Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), the antivirus program used by many Columbia faculty, staff and students; SEP does not offer encryption.
  • SEE was formerly called GuardianEdge. Currently it is ok if your computer or other devices are running a previously installed version of CUMC IT GuardianEdge for encryption; however you may not be able to open files encrypted by SEE (SEE will be able to open GE encrypted files). Please contact us at extension 5-Help if you have specific questions.
  • For information on using pre-boot authentication with SEE/GE please see the announcement at the bottom of this page.
CUMC IT is able to offer Symantec Endpoint Encryption software for Medical Center approved full disk encryption of compatible Windows computers as well as individual file, folder and email encryption.
You must read all instructions PRIOR to installing Symantec Endpoint Encryption. Anyone using any encryption program should read and understand how to use the software prior to installation to avoid possible issues with compatibility or moving files.

Symantec Endpoint Encryption (SEE) Compatibility

  1. Computers
    • SEE is compatible with laptops and desktops running Windows XP, Vista, or 7 (both 32 bit and 64 bit systems).
      The computers must be less than 3 years if you would like to use pre-boot authentication.
    • Macintosh computers (including those running Windows virtually via programs such as Parallels or Bootcamp) are not compatible, please see Encryption Recommendations for other options.
    • SEE is NOT compatible with SAS, PERC, SCSI hard drive controllers and OPAL hard disks. They are typically present in a computer system that has multiple hard disks set up in “RAID” configurations; most general use computers do not have these. Please contact 5-Help if you have questions.
  2. Removable media
    • USB Flash Drives
    • External/portable USB Hard Drives
    • CD and DVD Media
    • SEE encrypted files on removable media can be accessed on Macs and computers that do not have the program installed, see links to the left for portable files.
  3. Email attachments
    • SEE encrypted email attachments can be only opened on computers that have SEE (or GE) installed. Please see the Decrypting Email Attachments instructions.

Important Information Regarding Use of Symantec Endpoint Encryption at CUMC

CUMC requires that data stored on computers is regularly and properly backed up regardless of the use of encryption on the computer. Data classified as confidential or sensitive - whether a backup copy or not - must also be properly encrypted; storing files on a secure network drive is the easiest method for most faculty and staff. This helps ensure that data will be available in the event of unforeseeable loss or corruption (i.e. hard drive failure, loss/theft of equipment).

Data Recovery
Systems using the CUMC IT licensed version of SEE/GE require a password if data recovery must be attempted, but the password CANNOT be given to external vendors or non-CUMC IT technicians for security reasons. If an SEE/GE encrypted drive requires data recovery services and the drive is still "spinning", CUMC IT can attempt to decrypt the data prior to it being sent for recovery work.

Pre-Boot Authentication (PBA) and SEE
As per CUMC Encryption requirements, computers (including personally owned) that store or access sensitive data must use encryption that supports pre-boot authentication. Installation of SEE from the online form does not automatically enable pre-boot authentication, please see information on Verifying or Requesting Pre-Boot Authentication with SEE.

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Last updated 10/28/2014