Securing Devices 

Device security is essential for protecting your privacy and data. Sound device security involves using features built into your devices, such as setting a passcode or adjusting privacy settings and protecting the physical security of the device itself. Devices are valuable and are enticing to opportunistic passersby, whether they are after the device itself or the data it contains. Once the device is in the hands of a stranger, they may have access to troves of your personal information, intellectual property, and other valuable data. Protect your devices and data by employing the strategies in the guidance below. The Office of Information Security will update this guidance as relevant trends and best practices emerge in information security.

Universal device security strategies are listed here. For step-by-step and device-specific instructions, please refer to the guidance documents below. 

Thank you for taking the time to read and implement this guidance and for everything that you do to help us keep WashU secure.

General Device Security Strategies

Physical Device Security Strategies 

  • Treat your device as if it is valuable. You probably wouldn’t leave your wallet or hundreds of dollars lying out in plain sight. Your device was probably expensive and is, therefore, an attractive target for thieves. To deter theft, never leave your devices unattended.  
  • Keep your device secure during transport. Be aware of your surroundings and carry your device in a bag that closes with a zipper or a buckle. Carrying a device by hand makes it easier to set down and forget, and phones carried in pockets are easy to steal or lose. 
  • Although it seems smart to stash your devices under your desk or chair to keep them out of sight of thieves, doing so also makes it more likely that you will forget them. A forgotten device is easily picked up by others. If you must put your device on the floor, keep it between your feet so that you’re less likely to forget it.  
  • Avoid leaving your device in a locked vehicle. If you must leave your device in your car, be sure that it is out of sight (e.g., in the trunk). 
  • Don’t use your device or other valuables to “save your seat” in any public area. Leaving your device unattended, even for just a moment, and even if others are “watching it for you,” leaves you vulnerable to theft. 
  • Faculty and staff who plan to travel with their laptops are encouraged to order a loaner laptop through Washington University Information Technology. Loaner laptops are registered on the Travel Registry site and are configured to access Office365, WUSTL Box, and offer remote access to WashU resources. 

Basic Security Features

  • Always use a passcode on all devices. Passcodes prevent others from accessing information and help keep your device secure. 
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever it is available. Be sure to download and install the DUO Mobile App for WashU 2FA. 
  • Remember to back up all information on your device so that if it is lost or stolen, you won’t lose your data, too. 
  • Turn on Automatic Updates on your devices. Software updates often contain important security patches. 
  • Use an app that allows you to track your lost or stolen device. 
  • Turn on your screen auto-lock and adjust your lock screen notifications to protect your privacy. 
  • Ensure that your devices are encrypted. 

Email Safety

Remote Work

Information Security Strategies by Device Type

Travel Guidance

Relevant Policies