How can I keep information safe?

Information security is a matter for all of us. The university holds lots of information that could be commercially sensitive or confidential – including personal information – and we have a duty to protect it. Failing to protect personal information, in particular, could lead to the University being fined, and could damage our reputation. Here are some simple tips to help you keep the information you handle secure.

  • Don’t leave papers lying around on your desk. Lock them away at the end of the day.
  • Keep cupboards, desk drawers and filing cabinets locked and don’t leave keys in the locks.
  • If you have an office to yourself then lock it whenever you leave it, even if you are only popping out for two minutes – it’s so easy to get waylaid.
  • If you’re in a public or shared office make sure that your monitor is in a position that prevents casual visitors being able to see what’s on it. Consider having a privacy screen for your monitor.
  • Minimise open windows on your computer if you have a visitor who could see your computer screen.
  • Lock your computer screen when you leave it.
  • Make sure you take the time to check that you are sending an email to the right person. Avoid using the Outlook “suggest names” function, type in the exact email address, or right click on the name in the “to” box to view and check the properties before you send.
  • When forwarding emails, especially long trails of emails, check that there is no sensitive, confidential or personal information in one of the earlier emails in the thread that the people you're about to forward to ought not to see.
  • Avoid taking information away from your office – either in paper form or on removable media. Use the Open VPN system instead.
  • If you are asked for information verbally – especially if it’s personal information - then always take time to check the identity of the caller. Read our Third Party Contact Guidance for more on this.
  • Never divulge or share passwords, and change passwords if you think that anyone else knows them.
  • Encrypt removable media wherever possible.
  • If you need to write a password down then keep the note away from your computer and try not to make it obvious what it is.
  • Never use a fax machine to send anything confidential.
  • Ask colleagues in Estate Management to collect and shred confidential papers for you.
  • Never leave bagged waste for shredding in corridors or other public spaces.

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