Information Security
Security Offerings
International Travel Loaner Laptop Program

Taking your primary laptop when you travel significantly increases the possibility of data and identity theft and could provide unwanted individuals a path into University systems. McCormick faculty can now reserve a loaner laptop for use when travelling internationally on University business and leave their primary laptop behind.

The International Travel Loaner Laptop Program ensures that faculty will have the applications and information they need while minimizing the amount of sensitive data that is carried or accessed abroad and leave their primary laptop behind. This service is provided free-of-charge; however, participants are responsible for any damage or loss, including cables and peripherals.

Jump to a Section

International Travel

The difference in legal requirements between nations and the process of crossing international borders can frequently render typical security controls used to protect sensitive data unworkable. We recommend that travelers do not bring their University-owned laptops when travelling internationally for business purposes to:

  • prevent the risk of data loss via laptop theft or confiscation from immigration officials
  • mitigate exposure of the Northwestern network to viruses/malware from potentially infected laptops
  • limit the disclosure of confidential information

any of which may result in:

  • personal and University financial liability
  • penalties from granting agencies

Travelers should become familiar with the destination country’s laws regarding data privacy, encryption and the search and seizure of electronic devices; and visit the U.S. State Department’s Alerts and Warnings web page to identify “high risk” countries that are on the travel itinerary.

Loaner Laptop Request Process

Individuals should contact IT support staff as soon as an upcoming trip is planned.

To request a loaner laptop, contact with your:

  • Dates of Travel
  • Destination Country
  • Software and Peripheral Requirements
  • Laptop Preference (Windows or Mac)

Requests should be submitted at least 5 business days in advance of the requested pick-up date. The pick up date should be no later than 1 day prior to travel and picked up no later than 3:00 pm. Laptops must be returned no later than noon on the specified return date.

Emergency requests for a loaner laptop will be accommodated to the greatest extent possible.

Laptop Offerings

Hardware Specifications

McCormick IT offers both Mac and PC loaners.  The loaner pool consists of the following choices:

  • 13” Apple MacBook Air 
  • 14” Dell Laptop

Laptop Configurations

McCormick IT will provide a laptop with fresh, standard configurations, including:

  • Current supported version of Mac OS or Windows OS operating systems
  • Current supported version of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Internet browsers
  • Virtual Private Network
  • Login with strong password
  • Encryption
  • Antivirus protection
  • Northwestern wireless and eduroam
  • Any specialty software required while working internationally

Travel Guidelines

Before Departure from the United States

Travelers should upload files needed for work while travelling to a secure Cloud-based file storage location, such as Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint.

While Travelling

Any files needed for offline access while on an airplane (or where Internet access is not available) can be placed on an encrypted flash drive. Upon entry into the destination county (or where Internet access is available), files can be downloaded from Cloud-based file storage as needed.

Email should be performed through Outlook Web Access (OWA).

The Northwestern VPN service should be used at all times.

If travelling to a member institution, use eduroam (education roaming), a secure federated wireless network for the international research and education community.

Before Arrival to the United States

All files should be re-uploaded to Cloud-based file storage and removed from the laptop, returning the device to a “clean” state before entering U.S. customs.

Returning to Campus

Return the loaner laptop to McCormick IT, where it will be reset and inspected for possible malware.