FAQs about Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Websites hosting confidential PII pose a high degree of risk, and must be rigorously secured against unauthorized access and disclosure using UD’s recommended security best practices and centralized identity management.
Use CAS to identify and authenticate authorized site visitors. Carefully consider whether the operational requirements of your unit can be met by other means that are less visible to the Internet community such as private shared file systems.
Confidential PII should not be sent in regular email because of the risk of unauthorized access and disclosure. While in transit, email can be intercepted and the contents disclosed to unauthorized persons. Also, if emailed to a wrong address, the information is irretrievable. Even if the email reaches its intended destination without a breach, the recipient may retain the confidential PII in their email system where it will be at risk for disclosure if their PC or email account is compromised.
Before sending confidential PII via email, it should be contained in an encrypted file. The password needed to decrypt the file should be sent separately, so that the information is protected even if one of the emails is intercepted or sent to the wrong address.
Storing confidential PII in the cloud—including Google Apps @UDel.edu—poses a high degree of risk of unauthorized access and disclosure, and therefore must be secured using the required protection methods, including encryption.
If using an external cloud service, it must be governed by a contract that is negotiated between the University and the provider. The contract must include terms and conditions to address all privacy and security requirements, and should include periodic due diligence of the cloud provider’s privacy and security safeguards. Carefully consider whether the operational requirements of your unit can be met by other means that are less visible to the Internet community.
Storing high-risk confidential PII such as SSNs and credit card numbers in the cloud poses a high degree of risk of unauthorized access and disclosure. Unencrypted high-risk PII must never be stored in Google Apps @UDel.edu. Whenever possible, centrally administered systems must be used to retrieve, process, or store high-risk PII.
High-risk confidential PII stored in the cloud must be secured using the required protection methods, including encryption. If using an external cloud service, it must be governed by a contract that is negotiated between the University and the provider. The contract must include terms and conditions to address all privacy and security requirements, and should include periodic due diligence of the cloud provider’s privacy and security safeguards.
High-risk PII should not be stored on shared file systems in your unit. If you have confidential high-risk personally identifiable academic, financial, or health information on a system or shared file system in your unit, it must be encrypted, and you must safeguard it from unauthorized disclosure, alteration, and destruction in accordance with the minimum UD protection requirements and best practices.University departments must re-evaluate their acquisition, use, and safeguarding of high-risk PII and conform to these guidelines at least annually. Carefully consider whether the operational requirements of your unit can be met by other means that are less visible to the Internet community.
Confidential PII must be secured using required protections including encryption if it is stored on a system not administered by central IT. Storing unencrypted confidential PII on any non-UD IT administered service or device is a violation of University policy. Examples include, but are not limited to, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, flash drives or any other personal computing device, cloud service or storage media. Accessing confidential PII on mobile devices or personal computers is strongly discouraged.
Always follow UD’s best practices to ensure UD information in your care remains private and secure.
Confidential PII must be in an encrypted file before sending the information via email or any other method over the Internet (e.g., UD Dropbox). The decryption password must be sent separately.Learn about encryption tools recommended by the University, and always follow UD’s best practices to ensure UD information in your care remains private and secure.
Secure (encrypted, certificate-based) access must be used when accessing confidential PII. Some of the University supported methods include:
Accessing confidential PII on personal devices including your desktop or laptop at home poses a high degree of risk. If you need to access University information offsite make sure you are using UD’s virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt it from campus to your personal computer (PC) at home.
Confidential PII must be contained in an encrypted file or on a PC with whole disc encryption. If you need to electronically send confidential PII, make sure it is in an encrypted file. The decryption password must be sent separately.
University policy requires that University information in unserviceable (junked) equipment be completely destroyed using approved protocols. University information must be completely destroyed by sanitizing the electronic storage media or certified secure destruction of the storage media or equipment.
If possible, junked equipment must be moved to the General Services building for secure certified recycling.
University policy requires that digital media (e.g., hard drives, flash drives, etc.) be sanitized of all University information if they are to be reused by a non-University entity or another University department that has no need to know the University information.
Cornell Spider is a recommended tool for securely finding confidential PII on your computer. It is able to search your laptop, desktop PC, website, hard drive, and other equipment, providing a list of files that may contain confidential PII.
University policy requires that physical documents containing confidential PII must be shredded or destroyed beyond recognition or reconstruction.
The web site URL should begin with https. Many browsers, for example, Mozilla, have an icon representing a lock at the lower right of the browser window. If you are unsure about the authenticity of the site, you can double-click the lock icon and review the certificate information.
Grades can be securely recorded, maintained, and stored on any of the two UD-approved content managment systems; Sakai or Canvas. If you do not use Sakai or Canvas, or if you keep records of grades on your personal computer or unit computer, the file(s) containing the grades must be encrypted.
If you have comments or suggestions about this Web page or see any errors, contact the IT Communication Group.