Sharing Sensitive Information


In order to better protect personal information, Iowa State University account holders are encouraged to move away from sending attachments by email, and instead share files through the university’s preferred platform, CyBox. Although popular, sending attachments by email has many risks, including the inability to control attachments after they have been sent and the ease of sending an attachment to the wrong email address. Iowa State account holders who use CyBox to share files can significantly reduce the chances of unauthorized individuals accessing sensitive or restricted data by accident.

CyBox is approved for hosting highly restricted data associated with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law protecting the privacy of student education records, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), legislation providing data privacy and security provisions to safeguard medical information.  

Confidential Data in Electronic/Email Communications

Sending a password protected attachment is an alternative for safeguarding sensitive information that you send through an e-mail attachment. Though password protecting your file makes it harder for someone to view your document, it should not be considered totally secure. Therefore, when considering sending sensitive data via e-mail, consider the following:

  • Do NOT send social security numbers in a document.
  • Send the password to the file through another method, not email. 

Password protect Microsoft documents, workbooks, and presentations

You can use passwords to help prevent other people from opening or modifying your documents, workbooks, and presentations.

Add or remove protection in your document, workbook, or presentation

Applies to Microsoft 2016, 2013 , 2010

Password protect a document

Applies to Word 2010 and Word Starter 2010

Password protect a document

Applies to Word 2016 , 2013

Password protect a document

Applies to Microsoft 2007 and 2010