Protecting Laptops & Ensuring Data Security

March 02, 2017

cartoonIn carrying out the mission of UC Santa Cruz, many of us work with confidential and restricted data. All of us must remain vigilant in protecting this information.

As a general practice, storing restricted data on our laptops or other mobile devices should always be avoided. If you do not have a business need to store restricted data on your laptop, please securely remove it immediately.

Restricted data includes Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, health information, passport numbers, and much more. Prior to 2004, Social Security numbers doubled as campus student ID numbers.


  • Store the minimum amount of restricted data possible, and know where it is stored.
  • Securely delete restricted data when there is no longer a business need for its retention.
  • Don't forget about email, attachments, screenshots, old or previous versions of files, drafts, archives, copies, backups, CDs/DVDs, old floppies, etc.
  • Always shred or otherwise destroy restricted data when disposing of it or equipment that contains it.
  • Information on how to securely delete files and email is available in IT Request: Mac / PC / email
  • Also see disposal and re-use of devices and electronic media.
  • Truncate, de-identify, or redact restricted data that you must retain whenever possible.

Laptop Security

Keep this information in mind when you’re out and about with your laptop or other mobile devices:


  • Treat your laptop like cash. If you leave it unattended it will be taken.
  • Secure your laptop with a password for both login and awake from sleep/screensavers.
  • Lock your laptop with a security cable or keep it with you at all times.
  • Be on guard especially in libraries, cafes, airports, and hotels.
  • Consider carrying your laptop in something less obvious than a laptop case.
  • Immediately file a report with the police if your laptop is stolen.


  • Leave your laptop unattended even for just a moment.
  • Leave your laptop in the car even if it’s locked in the trunk.
  • Put your laptop on the floor you might forget that it’s there.
  • Keep passwords with your laptop or in its case.

For more information about how to keep your laptop and other devices secure, visit the following web pages:

We love our devices. So do thieves!

Top 10 Good Computing Practices:

Federal Trade Commission Laptop Security:

Computer Encryption service:

Report a Security Incident: