Using Personal Devices for HBS Business

Many of us in the Harvard community are now able to work remotely, but we need to ensure that we are doing this in a way that protects our devices and the information to which we have access. This is true regardless of the location where we are working, or the devices that are working on.

Personal Device Requirements

Any device (laptop, desktop, or mobile device) that will access, or store Level 3 (Sensitive) Harvard data must adhere to the requirements listed in the Minimum Security Responsibilities: Computers and Mobile Devices​​​​​​​.

For information and examples of Level 3 data, please visit the Harvard University website.​​​​​​​

If you are not able (or do not wish) to follow these steps, you must not use the device to work with sensitive data. This includes syncing sensitive data that may be in your OneDrive account.

Apply Updates to Your Device & Apps

Cyberattacks exploit vulnerabilities in devices or apps to install malicious code and enable unauthorized access to systems and data. Installing the latest security updates minimizes this risk.

HBS Devices & Apps

Allow updates to install and reboot as soon as you can. Do not defer important security updates.

Personal Devices & Apps

Ensure automatic updates are enabled and reboot your devices at least once a week.

Personal Device Support & Associated Costs

HBS IT cannot provide software or support for personal devices. Please keep in mind that by leveraging your own devices, you are incurring a cost to yourself that HBS is not responsible for. This does not release you from your responsibility to protect Harvard data and systems. If you have questions about this, please contact informationsecurity@hbs.edu.

Department-specific Requirements?

Individual teams and departments may have additional requirements beyond what is listed here, including tools which are approved or required. Please consult with your manager.

Suggested Resources for Encryption

Leveraging tools built into your operating system may be the simplest path forward. To determine whether these are enabled on your device, or for how to enable them, we recommend performing a web search that includes the version of your device's OS.

  • Mac OS: Your Mac computer typically comes with a tool called FileVault.

  • Windows 10 and 11 Professional: These versions of Windows come with a tool called BitLocker.

Unfortunately, the Home versions of Windows do not come with encryption tools built in. If you need to work with sensitive information on a device which cannot be encrypted, there are numerous file/folder encryption tools which you may be able to leverage. (TSS cannot support the use of these tools).