GVSU Data Security

GVSU Duo Security

Information Technology will be providing two-factor authentication to GVSU faculty/staff who have been determined to have access to highly sensitive GVSU data through VPN.GVSU.EDU access.

Learn more about Duo Security.

GVSU Data Security on your Office Computer

  • GVSU issued Windows and Mac computers allow you to save files to two different network drives: your private personal network drive and your department’s shared network drive. If you have a Windows computer, any files you save in your “Documents” folder are automatically backed up to your personal network drive (N:\) and are accessible even if you encounter a hardware problem or change computers. If you have a Macintosh and you chose to have your Documents folder backed up to the GV Network, your files are backed up after you login to the network with your account/password and those files are accessible in the event of a hardware/software failure. Files saved/stored outside of these designated folders on your local computer are your individual responsibility to backup.
  • Windows 10 computers have built in hard drive encryption, thus the local copy of the files on your hard drive are secure. 
  • Windows 7, 8 and all Macintosh computers do not have encrypted hard drives, thus the data stored on your local hard drive is not secure. 
  • You may require a password on any given file which provides AES 128-bit password encryption
  • Email is not encrypted, thus not a secure method of transferring sensitive data.

Think B4U Save

  • Remove sensitive data from reports or excel spreadsheets before saving to your local hard drive or personal network drive
  • To avoid identity theft, FERPA violations and security breach incidents:
    • Never store sensitive student, employee or personal data on your local computer hard drive or personal network drive
    • Never store credit card data on your local computer hard drive or your personal network drive

Windows 10 Upgrades

In an ongoing effort to protect GVSU employees and data, all GVSU issued faculty/staff computers must meet minimum security protocols.  These security protocols are built into the GVSU supported image that is issued with a Windows or Macintosh computer.  Information Technology will make every effort to upgrade existing computers to incorporate the standard GVSU image with the security protocols.  If the computer is not capable of accepting the current GVSU standard image, the computer must be replaced with a model that will support the image.  Information Technology will inform the faculty/staff member or department when this situation is discovered and will request that the computer be replaced within a reasonable timeframe. Depending on the situation, this may result in a purchase from the department to replace the computer.

Deleting Files off of Your GVSU Computer

When you delete sensitive files/emails off of your GVSU Windows or Macintosh computer, you still must follow an additional step to permanently remove it as the original delete simply puts the file/email into an area that you can recover the file/email from.

Macintosh Computers

  • Drag files to the Trash on the desktop.  Go to the upper left Menu bar, select Finder and then Empty Trash to permanently delete a file.
  • Within Outlook email, delete the email, then click on the trash can on the right side of the email in the List Pane.  Click on Deleted Items near the top of the Navigation Pane, Select the item to be permanently deleted and click on Delete button on the keyboard or in the Ribbon.
    • If you want to select more than one item in a row, click on the first one, hold down the shift key, select the last one and click on the Delete button.
    • If you want to delete multiple items that are not in a row, hold down the Command key when selecting them and then click on the Delete button.
    • If you want to delete the whole trash can, click on one item, hold down the Command key and the A key, then click on the Delete button.

Windows Computers

  • Delete files by highlighting the file and clicking Delete or right click on a file and select Delete. Go to the Desktop and right click on Recycle Bin and select Empty Recycle Bin.
  • Within Outlook email, click on the email you with to delete and select the Delete button on the toolbar or right click and select Delete.  Go to the Deleted Items folder, right click and select Empty Folder to delete all permanently or select the desired email and right click to permanently delete the individual email.

Security for Grants

Many grants require sensitive data to be stored in a specific manner.  There are different levels of sensitive data and requirements that the typical office computer and/or network drive solutions cannot meet based on encryption requirements.  Please contact your department chair, Dean and the Grants Administration office to ensure that you are following proper protocols for data security with your grant requirements.  General questions and guidance can be directed to Sue Korzinek, Associate Vice President & CIO, 616-331-2035 or korzines@gvsu.edu

GVSU Data Security on your Department's Shared Network Drive

  • Files and folders on a shared departmental drive can be accessed on a Windows computer through your L:\ Drive or the "OFFICE-DFS" shortcut on your desktop. You can access departmental drives on a Mac computer via the mounted drive icon on your desktop (labeled “your-department-data”) or in Finder under “Shared” by clicking on “office.ads.gvsu.edu” and opening the “DFS” folder. You can also access departmental files through the VPN. Files saved to departmental drives are not stored on your computer’s internal hard drive.
  • Files are not automatically saved to your shared drive, L: drive. 
  • Network data drives are not encrypted, however, a departmental drive is the most secure method of data storage for sensitive data at GVSU. The most common departmental shared drive is the L: drive.  Check "Office DFS" shortcut on your desktop for your authorized network drives.

Alternative data storage solutions

  • Encrypted external drives
  • GVSU IT will be investigating options to order GVSU computers with encrypted drives


Learn about Export Controls and technology for GVSU travel here.

Page last modified October 26, 2018