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Subject: Encryption of Laptops and Other Mobile Devices Containing Confidential Information

Protection of confidential information is of the highest priority in UW Medicine. Confidential information includes protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII). If possible, avoid storing PHI or PII on laptops, USB memory sticks, and other mobile devices since any information on a mobile device is at elevated risk for unauthorized disclosure secondary to loss and theft. If storage of PHI or PII on a mobile device is necessary, UW Medicine requires that these devices be encrypted. Encryption is the process of converting data into an unreadable format which is reversible with the use of a security key or password.

If you are storing PHI or PII on a personal or department-provided laptop or any other mobile device, it is your responsibility to ensure that data stored on the device is encrypted. The Information Security Program has provided encryption information for both PC and Mac users on their website: http://security.uwmedicine.org/guidance/technical/encryption/mobiledevice_encryption/default.asp

To obtain information or help with encryption, contact IT Services Help Desk at mcsos@u.washington.edu. For urgent issues, please call 206-543-7012.

Thank you,

Sue Clausen, Chief Compliance & Privacy Officer, UW Medicine and Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Washington