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Frequently Asked Security Questions At CWU

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"Check back ... FAQs are added regularly"

Q: Do I need to install Anti-Virus Software on my CWU Computer?
A: The ITS Department assures that anti-virus software is installed on nearly every computer at CWU. When additional computers are purchased, the requestor must purchase additional licenses that are installed by ITS. All updates and virus definitions are automatically distributed to all computers on campus by ITS.

Q: Are we being successful at protecting against viruses?
A: Yes, since implementing our centralized AV processes in 2004, virus infections on campus have declined by 90%. Computers that were infected were not part of the centralized process, but were added.

Q: Is my data backed up and protected from loss?
A: Data stored on file servers is backed up nightly and stored in a separate location. This allows the ITS Department to recover information/data in the event of a catastrophic failure in the data center (system crash, fire, etc.). Information stored on individual computers (PCs and Macs) is not backed up by the ITS department. Individual users are responsible to backup their personal computers or store information on the file servers.

Q: What is FERPA?
A: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. For additional information, check out the Department of Education website information on FERPA at

Q: What is HIPAA?
A: HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA provides several benefits including protecting the rights of individuals and access to Health Insurance if they change jobs or lose their jobs. In addition, HIPAA protects the privacy of health information from unauthorized disclosure. Additional information on HIPAA is available at

Q: What is Gramm-Leach-Blyley?
A:The Gramm-Leach-Blyley Act of 1999 is designed to protect financial records and information. All financial institutions, including key businesses such as Higher Education that have detailed financial information, are subject to be compliant with the security requirements of this act. Among the many components of the Act, it regulates how information can be shared, what protections must be inplace to secure financial data, and more. More information on the Gramm-Leach-Blyley Act can be found at

Q: Is CWU concerned about Identify Theft?
A: Any organization that stores personal information such as Credit Card Numbers, Social Security Numbers, or other such information should be concerned about Identify Theft. At CWU, we have numerous levels of security (technology and policy) to help protect this information from falling into the wrong hands. No systems are 100% perfect, so we are constantly updating our security practices and technology.

Q: How often do I need to change my password?
A: Most passwords at CWU are required to be changed every 90 days (180 for students). This frequency is quite standard in most IT environments, and is a requirement in Washington State in order to comply with Department of Information Services (DIS) security policies and standards. For more information on passwords, see

Q: Is CWU required to notify me if any of my personal information is accessed by unauthorization individuals?
A: Senate Bill 6043 (Personal Information, Notice of Security Breaches) requires that any agency that owns or licenses computerized data that includes personal data must notify individuals if there is a breach of security that may have allowed access to this information. There are many guidelines surrounding this bill which can be viewed in full at:

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