SC-005 – Encryption

Responsible Office: Office of Cybersecurity

Last Review: 07/21/2021

Next Review: 07/21/2023

Contact: Chris Madeksho

Phone: 901.448.1579



To establish encryption requirements for all devices on UTHSC network. This Standard also covers the circumstances under which encryption must be used when data is being transferred.


Any device, whether UTHSC IT Resources or personally owned, i.e. computers, electronic devices, and media capable of storing electronic data that house UTHSC data or information.


Encryption – the process by which data is transformed into a format that renders it unreadable without access to the encryption key and knowledge of the process used.

Encryption Key – a password, file or piece of hardware that is required to encrypt and decrypt information, essentially locking and unlocking the data.

Personal Device – any device that is not purchased or owned by UTHSC.

UTHSC IT Resource – Any data, device, or other component of the information environment that supports information-related activities. Assets generally include hardware (e.g., endpoint devices), software (e.g., critical applications and support systems) and information.


Data Owner is ultimately responsible for the data and information being collected and maintained by his or her department or division, usually a member of senior management.  They assign data classification based on the data’s potential impact level and determines if data access is allowed.

ITS is responsible for the deployment of the technical controls to manage devices on the UTHSC network.

Office of Cybersecurity is responsible for establishing security controls and procedures to protect UTHSC intellectual property and data. Classification of data is per Standard-InfoSec-GP-002-Data & System Classification. The security of the data is based on Standard-InfoSec-GP-005-Data Security.

Owner of personal device must abide by this practice and all University standards and practices while using their personal device on the UTHSC network.

System Owner is responsible for the development, procurement, integration, modification, operation, and maintenance, and/or final disposition of an information system.

UTHSC Chancellor/Executive Leadership defines the allowance for the use of personal devices on the UTHSC network.


  1. Encryption algorithms and cyphers in use must meet the standards defined for use in NIST publication FIPS 140-3 or any superseding document, according to date of implementation. For additional guidance, see NIST SP 800-131A Revision 2 or subsequent revisions.
  2. No proprietary encryption algorithms are allowed, unless with documented approval from the UTHSC Office of Cybersecurity.
  3. Cryptographic keys must be generated and stored in a secure manner that prevents loss, theft, or compromise.
  4. Devices and Media Encryption is required for all laptops, workstations, and portable drives that are used to store or access UTHSC data regardless of the data classification.
  5. Data residing on servers owned and operated by UTHSC Information Technology Services and located within the UTHSC Data Center must be protected by at least one of the following:
    • Encryption, or
    • Strict Access Controls that authenticate individuals accessing these data, or
    • Technical controls approved by the UTHSC Office of Cybersecurity
  6. ITS provides, installs, configures, and supports encryption. Departments who have a laptop, workstation, or portable drive that needs encryption should contact the ITS Service Desk through UTHSC TechConnect.
  7. UTHSC data or information must be protected by encryption during transmission over any wireless network and during transmission over any non-UTHSC network
  8. All email communications that involve email addresses outside of the UTHSC email environment and that contain UTHSC data or information with a classification ranking of 3 in any area either in the body of the email, or as attachment require that the email be encrypted.
    1. If the encryption method includes a password, that password must be transferred through an alternative method, such as calling the individual and leaving the password on their voice mail.
    2. Email messages containing encrypted data may never include the password in the same message as the encrypted data. Individuals who are unsure if they are correctly encrypting electronic data transfers should contact the ITS Office of Cybersecurity at
  9. As of January 1, 2016, all portable storage devices and media must be fully encrypted regardless of device ownership. The following exceptions apply:
    1. When NO UTHSC data or information with a classification ranking of 3 in any area will be stored and encryption would interfere with the device’s intended use (e.g. a promotional USB device). Devices used in this manner must be clearly marked as not for use with UTHSC data or information with a classification ranking of 3 in any area.
    2. Devices and/or media used for marketing and public relations, that have no UTHSC data or information with a classification ranking of 3 in any area stored on the device, and the intended recipient is not a member of the UTHSC Community.
  10. All persistent storage within any and all mobile computing devices used within UTHSC must meet the following encryption standards:
    1. The encryption passphrase will meet or exceed password strength requirements per AC-002.02-Password Management and Complexity. The following exception applies:
      • Small portable computing devices where keyboard entry is cumbersome (e.g., smart-phones) may use reduced password strength and complexity if the device is configured to allow no more than 10 failed password entry attempts before preventing use by locking for a significant amount of time or erasing all storage.
    2. The encryption mechanism includes a management component that provides key recovery and proof that the device is encrypted.
    3. The encryption and key management methods used must have the approval of UTHSC Information Security or designee.
    4. Whenever possible, devices will include the ability to remotely wipe stored data in the event the device is lost or stolen.
  11. Personally owned devices must adhere to CS-002-Personally Owned Device Security.
  12. Exceptions to this Practice should be requested using the process outlined in GP-001.02 Security Exceptions and Exemptions to ITS Standards and Practices.


  1. GP-002-Data & System Categorization
  2. GP-001.02-Security Exceptions and Exemptions to ITS Standards and Practices
  3. PE-001-Physical Security of Information Resources and Related Facilities
  4. CS-002-Personally Owned Device Security
  5. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publication FIPS 140-3
  6. NIST SP 800-131A Revision 2