Portable Storage Device Policy

Policy number12-19
Responsible officeInformation Technology
ClassificationBoard of Trustees-delegated Policy
Category12. Information Technology and Data Security

Statement of policy

This policy accounts for WMU administrative, technical and physical safeguards for the use and security of portable electronic storage devices and laptop computers.

WMU Administrative, Technical and Physical Safeguards for the Use and Security of Portable Electronic Storage Devices and Laptop Computers

All University Covered Entities

Policy: The HIPAA Privacy Rules require that the University have appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect the privacy of protected health information (PHI).  More specifically the Rules require that the University have in place reasonable safeguards to protect PHI from intentional or unintentional use or disclosure that is in violation of the Privacy Rules. Accordingly, the University adopts the following procedures regarding the use and security of portable electronic storage devices, such as, but not limited to, flash drives, memory sticks, data disks, and laptop computers. 


  1. All members of the workforce shall follow the measures set forth below when they maintain PHI on portable electronic storage devices and/or laptop computers.
  2. PHI may be stored on a portable electronic storage device and/or laptop computer only if it is essential to do so to accomplish the work of the university. The necessity of storage shall be determined by the University HIPAA Privacy and Contact Officer. In the event the University HIPAA Privacy and Contact Officer allows such storage the departmental information technology employee shall make reasonably feasible arrangements for data encryption, strong passwords, and/or other appropriate protection.  
  3. No device, including portable electronic storage devices and laptop computers, on which PHI is stored may be left unattended unless it is in a secure, locked environment.  
  4. In no case may PHI be stored on a personally owned device of any kind.  
  5. All PHI contained on portable electronic storage devices and/or laptop computers shall be backed up daily to the university file servers.
  6. Any laptop computer that contains PHI must have computer tracking software installed as determined by the Office of Information Technology. Software installation must be arranged through the Office of Information Technology.

Regulatory Authority: Final Privacy Rule: 45 CFR §164.503(c) 

Related Policies/Procedures:

  • Policy Regarding Incidental Uses and Disclosures 
  • Policy, Providing Information to Family and Friends of Individuals Involved in Care 
  • Designated Record Sets 


Effective date of current versionJanuary 5, 2009
Date first adoptedDecember 23, 2008
Proposed date of next reviewOctober 1, 2021