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Foundational Information Security Controls F.A.Q.

Note: Under a new university-wide contract, Sophos Intercept X Advanced is replacing McAfee endpoint protection at UMass Amherst. More information will follow.
For questions, contact the IT professional in your department as applicable, or IT User Services.

What is the Foundational Information Security Controls project and why are you doing it?

Please refer to the Foundational Information Security Controls Project Overview page for the project overview

What software is being installed as part of this project?

  • Anti-Virus: McAfee
  • Patching and central management: KACE and Casper
  • Data Encryption: Bitlocker, McAfee encryption (whole disk and file/folder), Microsoft RMS
  • Firewall: McAfee HIPS for software the based firewall, and the campus network based hardware firewalls 

For more information, please refer to the Foundational Information Security Controls Details page.

What are the benefits of installing the security controls on the computers?

  • Help mitigate risk to university data and systems
  • Facilitate easier inventory and management of desktop and laptop systems?
  • Easier software installation by IT administrators?
  • More reliable and timely patching of applications?

Does the installation of the security controls mean my computer is secure?

The security software are foundational information security controls to help reduce risk of system and data compromise and data breach, however they  cannot guarantee your computer is completely secure.
By policy, users of university information technology resources have the responsibility to safeguard institutional technology resources, information and data. Below are links to best practices users can follow to help protect university computers, information, and research data:

What changes to my computer can I expect as a result of this security software?

Windows computer:

  • Computers with the McAfee whole disk encryption installed with present the user with a McAfee branded login screen prior to the computer booting up. The user will need to log in to the computer using an Active Directory account username and password.
  • Users may receive a pop-up window from KACE indicating patches are available for installation, and will give the user the option to install the patches, or defer the patches for a period of time. The use may also receive a pop-up from KACE asking to reboot the computer to complete the patch or software installation.

Mac computer:

  •  Users will see the Apple login screen prior to the computer booting up. Users will still log in to their computer with their same username and password. 
  • Additional changes Mac users may experience are:
    • The screen will lock 5 seconds after the screen saver becomes active.
    • A password will be required to unlock the screen saver, and when the computer wakes from sleep/hibernation.
    • A complex account login passwords will be required when changing a password.

Department and college IT staff can further secure computers in their areas. Please contact your department/college's IT staff for information on additional configurations and controls that may be applied to your computer.

Do these controls allow an IT Administrator to see what I am doing on my computer?

It is a violation of policy for an IT Administrator to use these controls for administrative voyeurism, for example, to monitor activities on the computer out of curiosity. IT administrators can use these controls to troubleshoot, check and resolve technical issues and address security issues. Please see the Confidentiality of Institutional Information and Research Data policy for more details.   

What if I experience technical problems with the security controls?

If you experience technical problems with the security controls contact your college's or department's IT staff, or contact IT User Services at or 413-545-9400.

Where can Campus IT Administrators get more technical information on the software?

Software and technical documentation related to the Foundational Information Security Controls project, including installation and troubleshooting instructions are available to campus IT Administrators on the internal IT Wiki. Please contact to request access to the IT Administrator section of the IT Wiki.