Computer Encryption

Emerson College IT encrypts all Emerson-owned computers. Encryption protects files saved on your computer from being accessed in the event of loss, theft, or a cyber breach.

As a standard practice, we require that all users save institutional data to Box, our campus-provided network share. However, if saving to Box is not possible, such as when working on a laptop not connected to the Emerson network, encryption provides a critical protection layer.

Encryption is an essential part of our configuration process for new staff and faculty computers. As IT receives all computer equipment for the campus, we ensure that they are encrypted.

The only change that users will experience is a password required at startup. IT administrators will continue to be able to recover data from encrypted computers if necessary.


For Windows computers, Emerson IT is using BitLocker, Microsoft's disk encryption solution, built into enterprise and professional versions of Windows 7 and above.

On startup, Windows users will be presented with white text on a blue screen, asking for a password. IT administrators will inform each user of this unique password, which they will be required to keep safe, and eventually memorize. This password will not change except under special circumstances, such as if the user or an IT administrator believes the password has been compromised.

bitlocker password prompt


OS X users will notice very little change, as Emerson IT is employing FileVault 2 for encryption, built into OS X. Users will be able to use their own username and password to start up the computer.

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