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Week 2: If You Collect It, Protect It


Here at CSUSM, we are required to collect a variety of personal information about our students, faculty and staff members.  Anyone who collects this data is what we refer to as a "data steward".  These individuals are also responsible for ensuring that the information they collect is adequately protected.  Here in the CSUSM Information Security Office, we want to make sure you understand this responsibility and are aware of the tools provided by the campus to ensure that the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data we collect remains intact.

Data Stewardship

Becoming a data steward is as simple as collecting some personal information about someone on behalf of the campus.  But what are your responsibilities when it comes to stewarding this data?

Simply, it is our responsibility to ensure that data is only accessed and/or viewed by authorized persons.  This is what we refer to as confidentiality.

Ensuring that data is only altered by authorized persons is what we refer to as integrity.

Finally, making sure that our users have access to the data we collect when they need it is what we refer to as availability.  

Together, these three factors make up the pillars of information security.  Keep reading to learn about some tools that can assist you with upholding these three goals.

Protection Tools

We have a wide variety of tools available to the campus community to ensure that data is protected.

Azure Information Protection

Azure Information Protection is a file encryption tool for Windows computer systems.  Unlike traditional file encryption software, AIP allows you to restrict access to files by email account. This means no more pesky passwords to remember, and managing access is as simple as typing an email account. 

In addition, AIP ensures that your files are protected wherever they go, because unlike traditional file encryption solutions, AIP adds the protection to the file and not the storage location.  

You can read more about how to get and use Azure Information Protection by clicking here.

Spirion Data Loss Prevention

Spirion, provided by the Chancellor's Office, is a program that will scan your computer for protected information such as social security numbers, drivers license, credit card numbers, and more!  You can use Spirion to find where the personal information you collect is stored, and use the tools built in to the application to protect it.

You can read more about Spirion by clicking here.

SharePoint Online

While you may not think about online storage solutions like SharePoint as strictly information security tools, SharePoint provides excellent features that can ensure confidentiality, integrity and availability.  

You can use SharePoint to store confidential data securely because SharePoint encrypts all your files at-rest, and can only be accessed with a username and password.

SharePoint has built-in version tracking to ensure that you know when your files were altered, and by whom.

Finally, by backing up your files to SharePoint, you ensure that you won't lose any of your crucial data in the event of a computer malfunction, virus infection or other disaster.

You can read more about SharePoint by clicking here.