Monday, April 27, 2009

University of Missouri Enhances Security of Social Security Numbers

COLUMBIA — April 14, 2009 — The University of Missouri is enhancing its security policies by storing Social Security Numbers (SSNs) that are mandatory for business purposes in a centralized database and purging those that are unnecessary.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is that SSN will only be collected by authorized areas. Printed materials will be imaged and shredded. When SSNs cannot be removed, they will be physically secured with restricted access.

The University of Missouri Division of Information Technology (IT) will work with those offices still needing to collect Social Security Numbers to store them in the centralized database. This database generates an Alternate Identification (AltID) number for application use. AltID looks and acts like a SSN, but without the risk of identity theft. AltID is translated back into a SSN to fulfill mandatory reporting requirements.

During this university-wide initiative, faculty and staff are reviewing business practices concerning the collection, use, and storage of SSNs to determine if every instance has a mandatory function. The University of Missouri Division of IT staff succeeded in securing SSNs and purging those that are unnecessary from several key data repositories, including Alumni at all four campuses; Single Sign-On (SSO); Remedy Help Desk; the Vendor Registration application used by Procurement; the Minority Business Development Office; and Design and Construction. SSN use in the PeopleSoft systems is currently under review.

According to Dr. Gary Allen, Vice President for Information Technology, “protecting the personal information of our employees, students, business associates, and friends is a top-most priority for the university. This project will take everyone’s cooperation.”

Contact your Campus Information Security Officer to register your applications that use SSNs and to discuss strategies to secure your data.

For more information on the SSN Project please visit

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