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Encryption means storing files or other information (emails) in a coded form such that if the file or email was obtained by a third party, they could not read it without the key to the code. Encrypting portable devices and media protects against one type of security threat, namely loss or theft of physical items.


In October 2015, the School of Medicine and UCLA Health System (SOM) mandated encryption of all portable devices and media used for any UCLA business. This means all SOM employees must encrypt all laptops, tablets, smart phones, USB keys, external hard drives, and other media. Anyone with a position in the SOM is mandated to follow this new policy. This policy applies regardless of whether or not patient data are on the devices. 

Following the SOM policy change, the School of Nursing will develop an encryption policy for portable devices and media.

We strongly recommend that mednet account holders in the SON move to meet the SOM policy. The SOM is running encryption fairs where their employees can bring devices and media for encryption, and they agreed to allow SON mednet account holders to attend those.

How to encrypt devices

The SON IT staff will help you encrypt your devices. We are also available to discuss encryption, storage and security of your data. Please contact us at the helpdesk to schedule a time we can help you (https://helpdesk.sonnet.ucla.edu/), or you can come by the 4th floor IT office and drop off your device or media for encryption.

The process may take some time. Each device and media type is different, and some require the IT staff to obtain software and a UCLA-provided security key. However, modern laptops, tablets and phones can be encrypted easily and with minimal performance penalty.