A Small Business Guide to Computer Encryption

Finding a business guide is much easier these days. The concept of encryption is difficult to comprehend, yet it’s a crucial element of safeguarding your business’s sensitive information. In a nutshell, it’s the act of making text scrambled (called ciphertext) to make it inaccessible to unauthorized users. It is possible to encrypt the contents of individual folders, files, or volumes, as well as entire disks inside a computer in addition to USB flash drives, as well as cloud-hosted files.

Why is encryption important?

The primary purpose of encryption for disks and files is to secure data on the computer or in a network storage system. Every organization, even small and midsize companies (SMBs) who collect private identifiable details (PII) such as birth dates, names, Social Security numbers, and financial data must safeguard this information. A company could be sued when a computer that contains PII is stolen, and the information is released or distributed.

If a laptop gets lost or stolen and the data or disks haven’t secured an intruder can easily take the data therefore it’s a great idea to protect your confidential files, even if it’s you don’t have your whole hard disk. The criminal doesn’t need to know the password for accessing the files. it’s simple to boot the computer using a USB thumb drive and access the disks inside the computer.

Disk encryption doesn’t protect a computer entirely. An attacker can still gain access to the computer via an insecure internet connection. Or an individual could click on a malicious link within an email, and then infect the computer with malware that steals passwords and usernames. These kinds are attacks that require more security precautions such as anti-malware software as well as firewalls, awareness training, and awareness. However, encryption of computer data or the entire disk significantly decreases the chance of data loss.

Encryption 101 How is it working?

In making choices regarding encryption, it is essential to be aware of how encryption functions. It is a type of cryptography that employs algorithms to encrypt messages, with only those who have the sender’s encryption or key to decode the message.

There are two major types of encryption methods: Symmetric encryption that encrypts data with only one private key and asymmetric encryption that makes use of the combination of several keys, which are private and public.

The most widely used type of encrypted symmetrically can be described as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) that constitutes one of the U.S. security standard used by the government. Hexadecimal data is scrambled several times and uses 128-bit keys of 192-bit or 256 bits to unlock, with the latter being the most secure. Keys can be substituted for passwords we design and make the password the sole method to unlock the data. This method is ideal for encrypting drives and files. The most vulnerable part could be the password that hackers could be able to break if they have a weak. They’re unlikely to force to gain access to the data by using encryption. Be aware that even although 128 bits AES is a secure encryption key, many laws require 256-bit AES to be in compliance with certain standards.

Asymmetric encryption is used to sending secure messages and other data between two persons. When using messaging applications, like the majority of email services every user is provided with both public and private keys. The public key functions as an address type and a method to allow the sender to decrypt their message. The message is then encrypted using the sender’s personal key. The recipient is then able to make use of the sender’s public key to confirm the message’s sender and decrypt the message using their private key. Anyone who tries to intercept the message will not be able to access its contents without the receiver’s private keys. Persona

Computer encryption types

Individual encrypted folders and files are exactly that it encrypts only those items you specify it to. This option is suitable for documents that are not a lot of business are save on computers, and is better than not having encryption in the first place.

A step further is the use of volume encryption which creates a container that is fully encrypt. All folders and files that are create or saved to the container are protect.

Full-disk or full-disk encryption is the most secure method of computer encryption. It is transparent to the user and doesn’t require them to save files in a particular space on the disk. every folder, file, and volume is protect.

When using full-disk encryption you’ll need to enter an encryption passcode or let your computer access encryption keys (a random sequence of letters and numbers) by using a USB device before turning the computer. This unlocks the files and allows you to access them as normal.

Built-in encryption programs

Secure encryption is built-in to current versions of Windows as well as OS X operating systems and is also available on a few Linux distributions too.

Microsoft BitLocker is a disk encryption tool that is include in Windows 7 (Enterprise and Ultimate). As well as Windows 10’s Pro and Enterprise versions for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. It’s made to use the Trust Platform Module chip inside your PC that stores the key to your disk encryption. It is possible to activate BitLocker regardless of the chips. However certain settings need to set within the operating system which requires administrator privileges.

To turn on BitLocker start by opening Windows Explorer or File Explorer and then right-click Drive C. If your version of Windows supports BitLocker. It will show a Turn on BitLocker option that you can click to turn on the application. Zims

If you turn on BitLocker, Microsoft prompts you to save a copy of the recovery keys. This is a crucial step since you’ll need an unlock key for your drive. Without this key, either you or anyone another person can access your information. The key can print as well as save in the account of your Microsoft account or in a file. BitLocker allows you to need a PIN on start-up.

Apple FileVault provides encryption for PCs that run Mac OS X. If you enable encryption FileVault asks users to save the disk encryption recovery key within Your iCloud account. However, you can record it instead.

For Linux, the most common method is to secure the disk before installing the operating system by using a program like dm-crypt. However, third-party software is also available to encrypt the disk post-installation.

Third-party encryption software

TrueCrypt was once among the top well-known open-source disk encryption software however, its creators have stop supporting it in the year 2014. Security experts are divide over whether the software is secure to use. To ensure that you’re on the safer side, use an item that is frequently test and upgrade. Here are some open-source software products that are highly consider:

  • VeraCrypt

    is no-cost software that can use on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It often receives the top scores from both third-party and user testers.

  • AxCrypt

    is an easy-to-use encryption program that is available in both premium and free versions. It includes an integrate password manager as well as collaboration features to share encrypt data with other users.

  • Gpg4win

    utilizes military-grade security to digitally sign and encrypt emails and files.

Many antivirus vendors include Symantec, Kaspersky, Sophos, and ESET have encryption include in their security suites. They also sell it as a separate product. Business

USB drives must also be secure, as when you transfer the contents of an encrypt drive to the USB drives, data are automatically decrypt. Business

It’s important to educate employees that once they send a file via email or copy it to a USB thumb drive, that data is no longer protect by that encryption,  said Joe Siegrist, vice president, and general manager of LogMeIn’s LastPass password management software.

To ensure that the files on the USB device protect you can use software like Microsoft BitLocker To Go or open-source software. You can also buy USB drives that include encryption, like IronKey, SanDisk, and Kanguru.

Best practices for computer encryption

Before you enable encryption on your computer, you must back your data files and make an image backup. This is a copy of all the content of your hard drive. It is also important to make sure you have the OS installation media. Then create an emergency boot drive with removable media. Business

In the future, make sure you backup your system regularly. A damage or encrypt disk that fails or is damage can cause files to lost for good. If you’ve got a recent backup, you could get up and running quickly. Business

When you are creating a passcode or PIN, make use of randomly generated numbers, letters, and even words and then remember the information. The more intricate and long-winded the more effective, but not too complex that it is difficult to remember it. Try combining two phrases such as short verses from two songs you love. Only use the first letter of each word and then substitute other characters, like zero for O and the 3 or pound symbol (#) to make an E. Utilize mixed capitalization, too. Other tips to create secure passwords are available inside the Business News Daily article.

Keep a note of your passcode and the encryption key (if distinct) in a secure place in case you forget your passcode or passcode. If you activate full-disk encryption but forgot your passcode. You’ll not be in a position to gain access to your computer. Neither any other person, including IT staff or even the data recovery service Synergist stated.


If you are using Wi-Fi, make sure you use Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA2). It is an encryption method to protect wireless connections. Avoid using WEP, which is a form of Wired Equal Privacy (WEP) that isn’t secure under any circumstance. Business

Also, you can utilize a virtual private network for access to the network at work using a laptop or mobile device. Even when you are working remotely. A VPN creates a secure channel across the internet and encrypts every data you transmit and receive in that session.

Be aware that encryption on computers is only one component of a comprehensive security plan for safeguarding computers and confidential information. It’s an essential security measure for companies that handle sensitive data and must be installed on every device that might fall into the unintentional hands of someone else. Go through our small-business cyber security guide for more information and suggestions.


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