Do you need to save that file? Tips for safeguarding data when working on a personal computer

Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A woman's hands on a laptop keyboard.

Now that you’re working remotely, preventing data or security breach rests more squarely on your shoulders. Remote working opens the University to IT network, system and device vulnerabilities. With the rise of malicious online activity and increased coronavirus scams, the threat level has increased exponentially.

If you’re using a personal device to access University information, such as research data or student and employee personal information, or printing documents containing sensitive information at home, the risk can be even greater. Your personal device may be more susceptible to breaches or cyberattacks. Most personal devices do not have the same degree of protection as University-issued machines with multiple layers of security and a team of security and IT professionals working in the background to keep you safe.  

Whether you’re on a University or a personal computer, you can do your part to avoid compromising University data and information.

Below are a few basic tips for safeguarding your computer’s and the University’s data.

General security tips for working remotely

  • Our number one tip: Avoid saving University data and information on personal computers and devices.
  • If you must save files on your personal computer or device, delete all electronic copies of these files  (including those in the computer’s download folder and recycle bin) when you’re done working.
  • Keep mobile devices and laptops safe. Lock your computer’s desktop if you are not actively working on your computer.
  • Protect your computer with the latest version and updates of anti-virus software, your operating system (Windows or Mac) and your applications.
  • Use LiquidFiles to send large or confidential files to any email address quickly and securely.
  • Refrain from printing or transporting work-related documents. If you print documents, securely destroy them after use.
  • Refrain from downloading and using apps that are not University of Ottawa-approved for meetings or to provide remote teaching and learning sessions. Apps such as Zoom are not secure.

Are you doing what you can to safeguard information on your personal devices? Learn more about IT Security and Information Management guidelines for working remotely.

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