Install Patches [Updates] To Your Devices

Whether you are a faculty member, student, or staff, inevitably you’ve worked more from home in the past 16 months than ever before. If you use a personally-owned laptop or PC not managed by UF technical staff, chances are your device(s) aren’t up to date. Outdated devices allow cybercriminals to exploit bugs, so it’s important to secure them. There is an easy way to protect personally-owned devices and the data on them: patching.

A patch, also called an update or software update depending on the device manufacturer, is released to fix security vulnerabilities and other bugs. Applying the update as soon as it’s released is important, because they are often in response to a known vulnerability or virus. Updates not only improve the security of your device, but often provide additional functionality, usability, or performance of features. All software has bugs, and manufacturers constantly identify and patch these–just as cybercriminals constantly look for bugs they can use to attack devices and steal data.

A good way to stay current with patches is to enable automatic updates. Read item #1 on for simple instructions to enable automatic updates on Mac and Windows devices. Another good tip: Reboot your laptop, smartphone, PC, and other devices each week, rather than just closing the lid or logging off. Completely shutting down and restarting devices helps to install and apply updates. You can learn more tips on the Information Security Office website.

Securely Disposing of UF Records and Media

The secure destruction of paper, electronic records, and media containing restricted data is required at the University of Florida. Failure to properly dispose of documents and media, such as hard drives, USBs, and CDs, that hold restricted data can cause significant risk to UF and its faculty, students, and staff.

UF’s process for disposal of records is clearly articulated to ensure compliance. Faculty and staff should know that different media types (e.g., paper, CD, files stored on encrypted hard drives, etc.) have different destruction methods. The Securely Deleting Electronic and Paper Records webpage includes a chart with a complete list of media types and disposal methods. If your department is moving or has a need to dispose of a significant volume of paper files, UF Procurement Services offers bulk-shredding services for university records as well as media that is required to be destroyed.

Anyone with questions about working with, or the process for deleting electronic and paper records that contain restricted data, may email the UF Information Security Office.

Before Going Abroad: Tips for UF’s Research Community

Traveling outside of the United States can put your research data–along with your identity and reputation–at risk. Whether you’re conducting a study, lecturing, or simply vacationing abroad, UF’s Information Security Office (ISO) wants you to understand the dangers of data targeting and identity theft.

Some tips to consider:
If possible, bring a temporary laptop that has only the files you’ll use/need while abroad
Verify your mobile device’s encryption
Be sure your laptop’s antivirus software is up-to-date before you travel
Disable automatic connections to open WiFi networks
Use UF’s VPN to connect to any service where Gatorlink authentication is required

Also, to protect your data and personal information, only get online via secure WiFi networks. Recent issues to be aware of include China’s blocking of UF’s VPN. More tips are available on the ISO’s traveling abroad page.

Faculty should contact the Office of Research to ensure they are not traveling with hardware or software subject to export controls. Anyone who needs help configuring VPN or changing their laptop settings are welcome to contact the UFIT Help Desk for assistance.

Save Time with Pre-Assessed “Fast Path Solutions”

UF’s Integrated Risk Management
(IRM) program was created to support the university’s mission of teaching, research, and service by providing faculty and staff with a single point of contact for their digital business tools and solutions needs.

IRM’s foundation is Fast Path Solutions, a comprehensive list of pre-assessed software and computing environments. The Fast Path Solutions are searchable by product name or by software category. Faculty and staff working with non-restricted data may use the Fast Path Solutions without additional review by UF administrative, compliance, and risk management offices.

Several Fast Path Solutions are pre-assessed for use with restricted data, but faculty and staff are still required to register restricted data use to ensure the proper collection, transmittal, processing, and storage of restricted data on campus. Additional review may be required for software and computing environments using restricted data not listed as a Fast Path Solution.

Fast Path Solutions are one of a series of enhancements currently underway to streamline the review of risk and compliance across UF. The IRM team invites you to visit the webpage. Your feedback is also welcome! Please email questions or comments to or phone the IRM team, 352-294-2589.