PII Security Policy

PII Security Policy

In an effort to further secure and protect College data and information, the College will be implementing a new email policy related to Personally identifiable information (PII).  PII is sensitive information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify an individual.

Examples of sensitive PII include, but are not limited to:

  • Social security number, both full and truncated.
  • Driver's license and other government identification numbers.
  • Financial Information such as bank account, credit, & debit card numbers
  • Medical Information

If a user sends an email using their @mercy.edu account which includes data that has not been encrypted and can be classified as PII, the message will automatically be blocked. This includes PII data that is in the body of the email, as well as in attachments.

In order to safely send PII data, please follow the steps below to encrypt the PII data.  The encryption temporarily converts the sensitive data into unreadable code so that it can be safely transmitted over email, preventing unauthorized access.

1-      Save the PII data you would like to send in a document (Word, Excel, Notepad, etc.) 

2-      Once the file is saved, “Right Click” on the file and select WinZip, and then select Add to Zip file from the drop down window. 

3-      When the Add windows opens, select the location on your computer where you would like to save the encrypted file (the default location is where the original file is saved)

4-      Select Encrypt added files.

5-      click Add. 

6-   You will be prompted with a window providing details on encryption.  When you receive the prompt, click OK to continue. If you would like more information about encryption, then you may click Help 

7-      You will be asked to set a password for your file and this will ensure that the file is only accessible using the password you set. Once you set a password and confirm it, please click ok.

8-      A dialog box will be shown letting you know that the process is complete.  Click OK to continue.

9-      You will now have a file that has the same name as the original that is encrypted.  Please see the image below for an example.  In order to open the file, you will need to use the password you set while creating it.

10-   Now, you can email this encrypted file and share the password with those whom you would like to access the file.

NOTE: The encrypted file and password should not be sent in the same email. Please send the encrypted file first and then a separate email with the password.