Updates to removable media encryption and access

Information Resources & Technology is updating how we manage encryption of — and permissions for — removable media storage devices, like external hard drives, on Rowan-managed computers to better protect confidential data and improve access to non-sensitive data.

What are we doing, and when?

As of today, we are:

  • Discontinuing current encryption methods for removable media: We will no longer use Symantec Endpoint Encryption — or any other software — to encrypt removable media storage devices.
  • Requiring a Rowan-managed encrypted drive for confidential data stored on removable media: Rowan University's approved cloud storage options, Google Drive and OneDrive, can serve the data storage needs of most employees, including those who have access to confidential data, and you should use these options first. However, employees who must store confidential data on removable media are now required to use hardware-encrypted drives managed by Rowan University. 

As of July 1, 2024
, we are updating removable media permissions for those who don’t actively use it. This means:

  • If removable media has been used on a Rowan-managed computer in the last six months, you may continue to use removable media on that computer. 
  • If removable media hasn’t been used on a Rowan-managed computer in the last six months, we will block removable access on that computer. You may reactivate removable media access at a later date, if needed, by requesting an exception.  
    • Computers located in classrooms and computer labs are exempt from this rule and are not subject to removable media blocks. 

What do you need to do now?

Here’s what you need to do now to prepare for these changes:

  • Decrypt Symantec-encrypted files. If you have Symantec-encrypted files on an external device, you should decrypt them by January 1 to maintain your access to that data. 
    • Your computer must have been on campus or connected via Rowan VPN on or after November 28 to be able to decrypt files. If you cannot decrypt files, you must visit one of our Technology Assistance Centers for in-person assistance. 
  • Request a hardware-encrypted drive for confidential data, if needed. You may store confidential data in Google Drive and OneDrive, and we recommend you use those options first. Employees who need to store confidential data on removable media must use a hardware-encrypted drive, which you can request through the Rowan Support Portal

Why are we making these changes?

Symantec Endpoint Encryption has been difficult for faculty and staff to use, and the company that developed the software no longer provides support for it. By removing this legacy software from our environment and rethinking our approach to data encryption, we can reduce complexity for most employees and better secure confidential data.

If you have any other questions, please contact the Technology Support Center at 856-256-4400, or submit a ticket in the Rowan Support Portal. You can also get answers to common questions in our Knowledge Base and our chatbot, Ask Susan, at any time.