For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Computer Encryption

To ensure that data is kept safe and secure, all new computers are delivered with full disk encryption enabled, and computers in use prior to the data encryption initiative will be manually encrypted by IT. 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

Newly purchased computers will be delivered with full disk encryption enabled, and no further action is required.

For computers issued prior to the data security initiative, an IT professional will make an appointment to visit your office to ensure that you have a current and supported version of Windows or macOS with that the latest updates.

If your department head has chosen to subscribe to the University's secure backup service, IT staff will install CrashPlan. Backup software allows for the restoration of files in the event of a hardware failure as well as recovery from a mistakenly deleted or overwritten file. The initial backup may take several days to complete.

Installation and Restart

Once the integrity of your computer storage is confirmed, Microsoft BitLocker or Apple FileVault will be enabled. Enabling encryption on either platform is typically quick. The computer will most likely be restarted a few times.

A small number of computers may experience issues when enabling full disk encryption. 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

Initial encryption will begin post BitLocker or FileVault enablement. This process ensures that all the documents already on your computer are stored securely. The time that it takes for initial encryption to complete depends on the capacity of the disk drives inside the computer and on how fast the drives are. Most modern computers are equipped with solid state drives and encrypt relatively quickly. Older devices with platter disk drives encrypt much slower, but this does not substantially impact performance. 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 no noticeable delay.