Urgent Message Re: Use of Email, Privacy and Security


**This message is sent on behalf of Dr. Cheryl Holmes, Associate Dean, UGME**


Dear UBC Fa​culty,

In this virtual environment, now more than ever we are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. We would like to remind you that University (UBC, UNBC or UVIC) or Health Authority email addresses should be used for all UBC-related correspondence, especially when communicating sensitive information such as grades, professionalism, etc.

For more information, here are some resources from the UBC Office of the CIO Information Security, Policy, Standards and Resources FAQ: https://cio.ubc.ca/information-security/information-security-policy-standards-and-resources.

From the FAQs (within the above website):

Q15: Why can’t Gmail be used for work purposes?

Like many organizations, UBC requires work to be conducted using business email systems such as FASmail. Gmail and other services that are hosted in the “cloud” are not suitable for work purposes for the following reasons:

  1. Privacy: The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) requires Personal Information to be stored and accessed in Canada. Since Gmail is hosted outside Canada, it should not be used by UBC faculty or staff to transmit Personal Information.
  2. Security: UBC has an obligation to ensure that Medium, High or Very High-Risk Information is reasonably secure from unauthorized use or disclosure. It cannot guarantee the safety of the information if it is stored in a personal email account on Gmail.
  3. Records management:UBC’s Records Management Policy requires staff and faculty members to manage and preserve records of value, which includes email messages. Emails that are stored on external email accounts may not be preserved as required under that policy

The following has also just been published today in Times Higher Education:  “Hackers have had more opportunities to target members of the postsecondary community due to the increased use of personal devices and unencrypted internet connections during the move to remote working”. 

Therefore, in addition to using only university or health authority emails for UBC communication, I would ask all of you to please encrypt your devices, if you have no already done so.  Also please share this communication within your respective teams and committees.

Best, Cheryl

Dr. Cheryl L. Holmes MD, FRCPC, MHPE
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education
Clinical Professor and Head Division of Critical Care, Department of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia
I acknowledge that I live and work on the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

If you do not yet have a UBC FASMail account and would like one set up, please contact Bree Wilson, HR Assistant, at bree.wilson@ubc.ca.