Adopting Safer Habits: Protecting Files

Just as we lock our doors to protect the contents of our homes when we are gone, there are times when we must take similar precautions with the documents and files we use in our work.

File encryption is one such precaution. When a file is encrypted it is made inaccessible to everyone except those who possess a specific ‘key’. Much like the key to a home, the key to an encrypted file must be kept in a safe place.

locknkey2Members of the Allegheny Community have two options when it comes to file encryption.

  1. Microsoft Office’s Encrypt with a Password, which is a reasonable additional layer of security that is included natively in Microsoft Office 2007 and later.
  2. When it comes to truly confidential files or extremely sensitive data sets, Information Technology Services recommends you use an open source program called Cryptophane to protect files as you email them to colleagues or to transport them off campus on your laptop or a USB flash drive.  This tutorial shows you how to install the software and generate the necessary keys to lock and unlock your sensitive files. Once the appropriate keys are generated, file encryption and decryption becomes a simple right click.  


    The tutorial is a bit overwhelming, please know we are working on improving it and welcome your constructive criticism.

Please contact Information Technology Services if you would like to learn more.  A member of the team can assist you in getting the software installed and discuss any questions you might have regarding file encryption.