5 Reasons You Should Encrypt Your Hard Drive
Companies are subject to many more threats to their data today than they were 20 years ago. Cyber threats have been exploding, going up 400% during the midst of the pandemic, and the workforce is more mobile than ever.
This means the main computer for many is a laptop, making it easy to move between home and office and take on the road. This mobility also adds a significant risk of a device being lost or stolen.
Another thing that Orlando businesses have to factor in when purchasing and setting up new computers is data protection. There are many regulations these days requiring that personal data collected for customers, employees, and vendors is properly secured.
Depending upon your industry and where you sell products or services, you could be subject to many different data privacy rules, such as PCI, HIPAA, or GDPR.
All these factors add up to the need to take strong measures to protect information contained on your business devices.
Why Hard Drive Encryption Makes Sense
One of the strongest methods you can use to protect data on a computer from being compromised is to encrypt the hard drive.
Encryption involves the use of mathematical algorithms that can scramble data. The data can only be unscrambled by the right cipher key, that decodes the algorithm and returns the data to the pre-encrypted state.
Encryption can work in two ways:
- Symmetric Encryption: Uses a single private key to encrypt and decrypt the data
- Asymmetric Encryption: Uses more than one key that are both public and private
When encrypting data on a computer hard drive you typically have three options:
- Individual file or folder encryption
- Volume encryption (encrypts a certain area of a hard drive and everything in it)
- Full-disk encryption (encrypts your entire hard drive)
Full-disk encryption is the most secure because it makes the computer and everything on it unreadable unless you have the key to decrypt it.
Methods for encryption include:
- Built-in encryption programs, like Microsoft BitLocker
- Third-party encryption programs, like AxCrypt
Why go through the trouble to encrypt your computer hard drive?
Improve Data Security
When a laptop is lost or stolen, it’s not just the files on your drive that hackers gain access to. Most people will have saved passwords on their device, that help them quickly log into sites like Amazon or online banking. There are also email messages and the ability to send and receive email using the account.
Social media accounts like LinkedIn or Twitter are also often easily accessed without needing to know a password because they often keep users logged in.
With hard drive encryption, you keep someone from accessing all the data on your drive should your device fall into the wrong hands.
Helps With Data Privacy Compliance
It’s not unusual for companies to have to pay a HIPAA penalty when personally identifiable information (PII) is left accessible on an unsecured computer. The operator walks away for a moment, and a laptop can easily be stolen or accessed by unauthorized parties.
HIPAA penalties for compromised PII are anywhere between $100 to $50,000 per violation.
Using drive encryption can help you avoid data privacy compliance penalties by keeping drives encrypted when not in use.
It’s Minimally Disruptive
Drive encryption is designed to be quick and easy for the user. Once encryption is set up, they simply input a special key to decrypt their drive when they’re ready to use it.
They have the ability to print out their key or save it to a protected account for access later. It only takes a few seconds for the drive encryption and decryption to work.
Protects You If Your Computer is Stolen
It’s estimated that there is a 1 in 10 chance that a laptop will be stolen during its lifetime. Because of the mobile nature of laptops, they can often end up in situations where they can be swiped.
For example, left on an airplane, from a table at Starbucks when you step away to throw out your cup, or from a trade show booth.
While you may not get your computer back, when your drive is encrypted you have peace of mind knowing that at least all of your data will be unreadable by the thief and any emails or saved logins you have will be secure.
If you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, Windows BitLocker is included. But even if you need to purchase an encryption application, they are relatively inexpensive, coming in at around $100.
The security you gain from having your drive encrypted and your data safe makes it a decent value.
Get Device Security Help to Improve Your Compliance
C Solutions can help your Orlando area business put drive encryption and other measures in place to improve compliance and your overall IT security.
Schedule a free consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.