Protecting Personally Identifiable Information

College employees are obligated to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII).  This applies to all college employees including student employees.

piiWhat exactly is PII?

Different state and federal agencies have different definitions, but PII generally includes: name, address, phone number, Social Security number, birthdate and credit card numbers.

Why is it so important to protect PII? 

We are obligated by various laws to protect this information.  If Personally Identifiable Information gets into the wrong hands, it can be used for identity theft.  Just a list of names would not be problematic, but names in combination with any of the other items listed above may be a reportable offense.

What can you do to protect PII?

One of the most important things you can do is to store any documents containing PII on a college server and NOT on a desktop or laptop computer.  Someone could access your desktop computer and laptop computers can be lost.  All documents with Personally Identifiable Information should be stored in your Private folder or in a Department Shared folder.  If you need to access the information from off campus, please install the VPN software.

Stay tuned next week for more tips on protecting PII.

Please practice safe computing.

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