Social Security Numbers - The Final Push
By Chauncey Jackson, Assistant VP of Information Technology
So what is UT Arlington doing about SSNs?
The University of Texas System has stated its policy on this issue - one that we all have been continually aware of: Business Procedures Memorandum 66.
The University of Texas at Arlington recognizes that it collects and maintains sensitive information relating to its students and individuals associated with the University. Over the past two years, our faculty, staff and administrators have been dedicated to ensuring the privacy and proper handling of this information by actively restricting the use of SSNs.
Proactive steps have been taken to use the new UT Arlington ID in the MyMav Student System, and UT-EID in the DEFINE System in lieu of SSN. These IDs are the main identifier used for university record-keeping and links to database records. Also, our databases have been shielded from intrusion, and all departments either shred or store paper forms containing sensitive data in secure locations. Personal computer files containing SSNs have been identified and, if not needed, have either been deleted or moved to secure network drives. These important steps are being taken as a positive response to an April 19, 2007 memo stressing the need to destroy or protect all SSN documents and files.
These changes have been a part of a multi-year effort to protect members of the University community´s personal information. Further examples include the placement of the UT Arlington ID on MavExpress cards rather than the SSN; performing ongoing security assessments of systems containing sensitive information; and eliminating methods of accessing sensitive information that is not encrypted.
On the less technical side of things, SSN education and awareness training for all university employees took place on April 6, 2007. And, we recognized the appointment of a UT System-wide Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), whose full-time responsibilities will be focused on the protection of all sensitive data, not just SSN.
As a result of all these actions, UT Arlington remains on track in meeting its stated objective regarding SSN.