Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Drive Encryption

Encrypting a computer hard drive encodes the data such that the user does not experience any differences in system usage or performance, but should the computer be lost or stolen, a third party would be unable to read the data contents.  Protecting our hard drives is a strong measure in ensuring the safety of restricted student data as well as data pertaining to academic research.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is device encryption, and what does it do?
A: Hard drive encryption is a technology that protects the contents of your computer from unauthorized access by converting it into unreadable code that cannot be easily deciphered. Everything will look the same when you use your computer; the encryption is only relevant if someone were to steal your laptop, remove the hard drive and try to extract the data on it. 

Why do we need to encrypt hard drives?
A:
We must protect Restricted Information on laptop hard drives from unauthorized access should a computer be lost or stolen. 

Who makes the encryption software?
A:
McAfee Endpoint Encryption for PC (EEPC).  This is the same company that provides UC’s enterprise virus protection software.

Is McAfee Endpoint Encryption available for Apple Mac Systems?
A:
Yes. LCB IT will need to setup a quick meeting with each Mac user to install the EEPC client for MAC.

How long does it take to encrypt my hard drive?
A: It takes about 15 minutes to install the encryption software, and then between 4 and 10 hours to finish the encryption of your data, during which you can use your computer normally.

What happens if the computer loses power while encrypting?
A: Power fail protection is an integral part of EEPC, which means that data cannot be lost if this happens. EEPC continuously updates internal information to allow it to continue working as soon as the computer is powered on again.

Will my computer run slower once it is encrypted?

A: No. After thorough testing, the software shows no noticeable performance impact.

How can a user determine if my drive is encrypted?
A: Locate the Endpoint Encryption system tray icon (by the clock) and chose Show Status. This opens a window showing the crypt status of your hard drives.

Are my files encrypted when I send them via email or store them in cloud storage?
A
: No. Files are only encrypted when at rest on your hard disk. As soon as you access them in any way (including email attachments) they are decrypted on the fly. McAfee encryption will not keep files encrypted when they are transmitted.

Can the Encryption Key be lost making it impossible for me to recover my own data?
A
: No. The encryption key is stored on a secure server that LCB I.T. has access to. The key is also backed up on another system that is maintained by UCit. All encryption key servers are backup daily and stored off site in case of a catastrophic disaster. 

Can the system be decrypted if needed?
A
: Yes. LCB IT can perform the necessary steps to decrypt the system.