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Keeping personal information secure is critical

Dear UNT faculty and staff,

As you know, the work we do to help our students succeed is critical. But perhaps even more critical is securely managing the personal information that our students and each of you entrust to us.

Recently, there have been issues within our units that have made some of our students’ personal data public. This is unacceptable.

Today, I am instructing each of you to complete online information security awareness training by Aug. 31. To complete the training, follow the instructions based on your employment type.

In addition, I am creating a new team that partners our web professionals with UNT System IT Shared Services to work on securing digital resources through initiatives relating to website access, web approvals, training and process improvements.

However, protecting websites is not our only data security concern. In fact, the unintended sharing and improper storage of data make up most of our information vulnerabilities. And since all employees are responsible for protecting the confidentiality, availability and integrity of information, I am outlining the basic facts you should all be aware of.

  • Confidential information must be protected. This information includes student and employee ID numbers, student information, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information.
  • Only individuals who receive permission from the information owners or their designees (i.e, the Registrar, Human Resources Director, Vice Presidents and other management) are authorized to access or use confidential information. 
  • Confidential information must be encrypted if transferred via electronic means.

To learn more about how to encrypt information, contact the Information Security Office at or 940-369-7800.

Faculty, staff and student employees should ensure that confidential data stored on laptops, tablets and other portable devices is encrypted. Contact your departmental IT manager to ensure that your institutional laptop is encrypted. Documents and other files that contain confidential information should be protected from unauthorized use and access.

Websites and other systems that collect or store confidential information must be assessed by the Information Security Office to ensure that the website meets security requirements for protecting confidential information.

Departments that conduct business with third parties that involves the use of confidential information must contact the Information Security Office to ensure that the use of information is done in a secure manner.

Neal SmatreskIt is my belief that these steps will allow our students, faculty and staff members to trust that UNT is doing the right thing with their personal information. Thank you for everything you do each day to make our university great.

UNT Proud,

Neal Smatresk


Posted on: Thu 11 June 2015

Owning Excellence

Faculty and staff members have roles in transforming UNT into a nationally prominent university. Share your ideas on how you can help UNT to own excellence, keep students on track and improve graduation education.

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