PGP Encryption

Information Technology has chosen PGP as our supported encryption software which will allow us to encrypt all of the information on your computer.  The process of encrypting allows us to convert data into a format that cannot be read by others.  In the event that a computer is lost or stolen there is very little risk of the information being compromised. 

It is the responsibility of each department to determine whether or not data encryption is needed on your computer.  Please contact the Helpdesk at (325) 674-4357 if you are interested in purchasing PGP protection.  If you decide to purchase this encryption solution, Information Technology will perform the installation/setup on your laptop.

Why do I need encryption? 
Encrypting a computer protects the information on it from begin read by others if the machine is lost of stolen, which could create a data breach for the universty  Individuals that carry student information or sensitive ACU data should consider this level of protection.

NOTE:  The average cost to a company of lost or stolen laptop with sensitive data is around $50,000.  This value is based on cost components such as the cost of a data breach, which represents 80% of the cost, intellectual property loss, replacing a laptop, productivity loss and legal, consulting and regulatory expenses. (source)

Why PGP?
PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is the leader in Desktop/Laptop encryption software.  One of the features of this product is that it will allow Information Technology to recover encryption keys in the event that they are lost or forgotten. 

PGP Features:

  • Full disk encryption
  • Encrypt USB flash drive or external hard drive
  • A file shredder to ensure the data is completely off the hard drive
  • Optional 2nd layer security with different password than your log on password
  • Temporary password in case of forgotten password
  • Mac and PC support
  • Non-intrusive and works in the background
  • Centrally managed with no action required from the user 

How does encryption work?
The type of encryption that we are providing is called Whole Disk Encryption (WDE).  WDE provides us with comprehensive, platform-independent, and high performance full disk encryption for all data (user files, swap files, system files, hidden files, etc.) on desktops, laptops, and removable media. The encrypted data is protected from unauthorized access, providing strong security for all data.

How will this affect my computer?
PGP Whole Disk Encryption requires you to authenticate with your PGP Whole Disk Encryption passphrase when you turn on your computer, before the operating system )e.g. Windows, or Mac OSX, etc) even starts. Once you have authenticated, on-the-fly decryption and encryption is enabled and your computer will continue with the normal startup process, which will look and behave exactly as before.

While you are logged into your system, all applications, including email and other network software, run unaffected. The encryption/decryption is entirely transparent to application activity.

How long does it take to encrypt a computer?
This one-time process usually takes anywhere from 4-10 hours depending on the hardware and the amount and complexity of the data on the drive. The preferred method is to begin the process before you leave for the day and return the next morning.  You will not be able to use your computer during this initial encryption process.