Know Your Data

Know Your Data

Follow the policy to secure Harvard data. If you don't need it, delete it!

know your data iconYou generate lots of information, but do you treat it all the same way? Of course not. Some types of information you want to share with the world, other information needs to be kept private. In the same way, Harvard has categories of information. There are important rules to follow when handling them. 

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IT Security Policy Quick Reference Guide

The quick reference guide provides you guidance on how to classify, handle, and dispose of data appropriately.

Download the PDF Policy Reference Guide

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Data Classification Guide and Policy 

Data Classification Guide and Harvard Information Security Policy 

The data classification guide will help you determine the level of the data you are using. The included handling guide will advise you of proper ways to store, print, share, and dispose of various levels of confidential information.

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Data Classification Guide

Examples of classification and handling methods that cover the many types of data at Harvard.

Go to the Data Classification Guide

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Harvard IT Security Policy

Full text of requirements for users, devices, and systems handling Harvard's confidential data.

Read the Harvard IT Security Policy

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Working with Confidential Data

Where to Share

Collaboration and sharing are important for getting work done at Harvard. To support all the different types of data, we have tools and services available for all security levels. Use the Collaboration Tools Matrix to see the right place to share and store confidential data.

Links not Files

When you send an email with an attached file, the file is out of your control. Share links instead of file attachments to keep control of file access after you hit send.

Don't forget to check these commonly overlooked files and file locations to clear unintended copies of confidential data. How to delete

  • Scans of physical forms or surveys
  • Working or iterative copies of live data
  • "Downloads" and "Desktop" folders
  • Backups on external hard drives or flash drives.

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Secure Deleting

Back from Delete?

When you delete a file, the data is often still sitting around on the system. These files can be recovered, which isn't good if you're trying to delete unneeded confidential data. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has produced guides for making data irretrievable to others on Windows and OS X in a more secure way. If you're not sure where to start, contact your security or support staff for help.