|For support: call extension 5-Help (212-305-4357) or email us
The recommendations on this page are provided as a courtesy only, anyone requiring further assistance with the installation, use and troubleshooting of any software and hardware at CUMC should refer to the Computer Support page.
Before Using Any Encryption Program
Full information on Encryption requirements at CUMC can be found within the IT Policies, Procedures and Guidelines area of our website.
The purpose of any encryption software is to make data unreadable if proper authentication is not provided. Issues including permanent loss of data can occur if you do not adequately prepare your computer and data before installing or beginning to use encryption.
It is also important that you do not forget or lose any password you set in an encryption program. Doing so may mean that you can no longer access the files; many programs do not provide a backup method to decrypt data without the password.
- Verify that the software is compatible with your computer and existing software.
- Review the program's installation and help documents to understand how you will be using it.
- Backup your existing data and files and follow any CUMC requirements for storage and encryption of backups. For most faculty and staff, CUMC IT managed network drives are the easiest way to do this.
Disk Encryption and Pre-Boot Authentication
Not all programs listed below can provide pre-boot authentication; it is indicated where available.
Symantec Endpoint Encryption
In the event the encrypted password is forgotten, Symantec Endpoint Encryption provides a
self-service mechanism to retrieve the lost password. This feature is only
available in SEE, whereas in the free products mentioned below if
the password is lost, it can never be retrieved, and the encrypted
information is inaccessible even to the legitimate users.
- CUMC IT is able to offer Symantec Endpoint Encryption (SEE - formerly called GuardianEdge or GE) for compatible Windows computers.
Note that 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.
- Use: Full disk and file and folder encryption.
- Pre-boot authentication is currently only enabled on Dell Leased laptops and compatible CUMC IT imaged laptops that were received on or after June 1st, please see Encryption at CUMC for details.
- Cost: Columbia University has limited licensed copy.
- Encryption: AES 128 bit/256 bit
- Password authentication: Yes
- Usage: for the CUMC IT download form please click here.
- Website: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/bitlocker
- Use: BitLocker is available on Windows 7 computers for hard drive and USB drive encryption. Some versions of BitLocker are not compatible with Windows Home Edition etc., please review all program information for compatibility.
- Pre-boot authentication can only be used on compatible Windows 7 versions manufactured with TPM version 1.2 or higher.
- Cost: Included in as part of the Windows OS.
- Encryption: 3DES, AES-256 (default) , RSA Certificates, ECC
- Password: Yes
- Usage: Please see website documentation or the help files on your Windows computer.
Individual File and Folder Encryption
- Use: Disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, Linux; allows for USB drive encryption as well.
Pre-boot authentication is available for some versions of Windows, see the vendor's website for full details.
- Cost: Free/Open Source
- Encryption: AES-256, Serpent, Twofish
- Password: Yes, required to decrypt partitions/volumes
- Usage: Please see website documentation
Secure Email Gateway
- Website: http://office.microsoft.com
- Use: Encryption of individual files (Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc.)
- Cost: Included with Office
- Encryption: AES-128/256 encryption
- Password: Yes, files can be password protected
- Usage: Open or create the file you would like to encrypt. Find the password protection options (Office 2010 for Windows look in File - Info; Office 2011 for Mac open Tools - Protection; otherwise use the program's Help menu) and follow the prompts to set a password.
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