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Computer Encryption

To ensure that data is kept safe and secure, the process of encrypting a computer involves several steps. This page outlines the major steps so that you can know what to expect when you are contacted by the IT professional to begin the process.

Assessment and Preparation

An IT professional will make an appointment to visit your office to ensure that you have a current and supported version of Windows or Mac OS X with that the latest updates and check to see if your computer is using unsupported drive partitioning. In the unlikely event that the drive must be repartitioned, the process will be more involved.

If your department head has chosen to subscribe you to the secure backup service for your computers, the IT staff will install CrashPlan ProE. With this backup software, files can be restored if the drive fails or to recover from a mistakenly deleted or overwritten file. Without CrashPlan ProE, files cannot be recovered from a failed drive that is encrypted. The initial backup may take several days to complete.

Finally, an integrity check of the hard disk or solid state drive will be started. Typically, this runs over night.

Installation and Restart

Once the integrity of your computer storage is confirmed, Sophos SafeGaurd Enterprise will be install. This installation typically takes 15-30 minutes. Once installation is complete, the computer is restarted. A small number of computers will not properly restart without additional technical support. Drexel has two tiers of support ready to assist in these unusual circumstances. When this does happen, the recovery process can range from several minutes to several hours.

Initial Encryption

After installation and restart, you'll sign in to your computer and the initial encryption will begin. This process ensures that all of the documents already on your computer are stored securely. The time that it takes to do this depends on the capacity of the storage drives inside the computer and on how fast the computer and drives are. For most people, the initial encryption takes several hours, but does not substantially impact performance. However, some users have noted that their computers become very slow during the initial encryption; fortunately, normal performance returns once the existing files are encrypted.

Continuous Encryption

Once the initial encryption is complete, new files and changes to existing ones are encrypted automatically and with little to no noticeable delay.