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Secure Transmission of Data

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The most important thing to understand about sending and receiving data is that ordinary old everyday e-mail is not a secure way to do it. E-mail messages can be intercepted while they travel on the internet, and if the message is not encrypted (and most of the time, it is not) anyone who intercepts it would be able to read it.

If you must send confidential or personally identifiable information to someone in order to carry out your workflow, you have a few choices. If the amount of information is relatively small, it might be easiest just to pick up the phone and call the other person. If you need to send a spreadsheet or other document containing a lot of information, and the other person works at Penn, you can use Secure Share. Secure Share encrypts your document while it travels over the internet -- but note that once the person you send it to downloads it, it is unencrypted while stored on their personal computer, unless they use another program to re-encrypt it. Still, this is a more secure way to move the information from one computer to another than e-mail.

For more details about these another options for sharing information, see Collaboration and Sharing.