Information Security
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File Sharing Solutions

Northwestern provides a variety of University-managed file sharing and collaboration options. To determine appropriate school and departmental file sharing strategies based on information sensitivity, the University community should consider the Service Guidelines, including:

  • SharePoint is an option for storing or sharing administrative and other highly sensitive files.
  • Research Data Storage Service is for storing and sharing research data, including restricted or sensitive data.
  • Northwestern file servers can be used for storing and sharing files of any sensitivity level.
  • Google @u is available for sharing teaching and learning files among faculty and students.

As outlined in the University Data Access Policy, all University data will be referred to as:

  • Public: Information that is available to all members of the University community and may be released to the general public such as published calendars, course descriptions, maps, department directories, approved census facts, audited financials
  • Internal: Non-sensitive information that is intended for use by, and made available to, members of the University community like meeting agendas, project documents, team-building event details. Sensitive information that is intended for use by, and made available to, members of the University community who have a business need to know such as salary plans, employment data, budgets, donor information, CTECs, patent information. References to sensitive data should be understood to mean any data which the compromise of, with respect to confidentiality, integrity, and/or availability, could adversely affect University interests or the privacy to which individuals are entitled.
  • Legally/contractually restricted: Information that is protected by applicable law or statute (e.g., FERPA, HIPAA, or the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act), or which, if disclosed to the public, could expose the University to legal or financial obligations.

The Northwestern file sharing solutions are appropriate for public, internal, and legally/contractually restricted data, except for Google Apps.

Google Apps are not approved for internal (sensitive) or legally/contractually restricted data.

When sharing files electronically, ensure access is limited to only individuals for whom the information is intended and follow all University Policies, which include: