What is Encryption and how does it work?

Encryption is the process of encoding data in such a way that only authorized parties can read it by providing the appropriate key to decrypt the data. Here is an example of how encryption works, courtesy of skyhighnetworks.com:

Encryption Decryption Sample.png

Why do I need Encryption?

Encryption helps to securely protect data from criminals who would like to steal sensitive and confidential information and use it for illegal purposes, such as identity theft or financial fraud.

How do I start using Encryption?

The following steps are intended to help you start using Encryption to protect your data on various types of devices.

Encryption for your iOS device

Apple iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads have built-in Encryption. To enable Encryption for your iPhone or iPad, simply set a Passcode that will be required to unlock your device. Follow the steps below to enable Encryption for your iOS device.

  • To set a Passcode code on your iOS device, go to Settings --> Touch ID & Passcode and create a Passcode, if one does not already exist. (If you are prompted to enter your Passcode, your device is already using Encryption.)

That's it! The data on your iOS device is Encrypted when the device is locked.

Encryption for your Android device

Android devices also have built-in Encryption, however one must first enable Encryption in the device's settings. To enable Encryption for your Android device, follow the steps below.

  • Go to: Settings --> Security --> Encryption --> Screen lock. Select the PIN option and enter a PIN. The Android device is now ready to be encrypted.
  • Open the encryption screen: Settings --> Security --> Encryption --> Encrypt tablet or Encrypt phone.
  • Enter the PIN or password that was created earlier. The Android device needs to be plugged in to a charger or it won't encrypt. Tap the Encrypt button.
  • The PIN or Password is required again to proceed to the last step to encrypt the device.
  • Touch the Encrypt button. Depending on PIN or password length, encryption can take up to an hour.

That's it! The data on your Android device is Encrypted when the device is locked.

Encryption for your Apple/Mac Laptop

Encryption for your Middlebury-managed Apple/Mac Laptop is available on computers running macOS “Mojave” 10.14 (or higher) that also have Self Service installed, which is our software portal for managed computers. You can check the operating system version under the Apple Menu and About This Mac.  You can find Self Service using Spotlight, or look in the Utilities folder within Applications.  To encrypt the Mac, open Self Service, and look for the featured “FileVault2 Disk Encryption”.  Contact the Helpdesk for guidance!

Encryption for your Windows Laptop

Encryption for your Middlebury-managed Windows Laptop requires that the computer be running Sophos Central Endpoint, which is our distributed security protection suite for managed computers, and also the Windows 10 operating system.

Step 1: First, check to see if you are running Sophos Central Endpoint by clicking in the Sophos "shield" icon in the systray. If the version is greater than 11.x, then your computer is running Sophos Central Endpoint and you can proceed to Step 2 below. If the version is 10.x or below, then your computer needs to be updated to use Sophos Central Endpoint before it will be ready for Encryption. Contact the Helpdesk for guidance!

Step 2: Now that you've got Sophos Central Endpoint, is your Windows laptop running Windows 10? If so, then your computer is ready for Encryption and you may request Encryption through the Helpdesk. If you are running any earlier version of Windows, you will want to contact the Helpdesk for guidance!

How do I get help with Encryption?

Contact the Helpdesk.

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