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Free Security Tools #1: Disk encryption

6-Dec-2017

We all use encryption every day, when we use Facebook, WhatsApp, internet banking, a growing number of email systems, and in fact many of the websites we use day to day in business and personal life.

 

Encryption is your friend - it stops unauthorised people from reading your online communications by encoding them (using maths) in way that's extremely hard to break if you don't know the key.

 

What is disk encryption?

Disk encryption uses the same principles to protect your data when it's "at rest" - that is, stored on your computer, mobile device or company file server.  If you use online services like Office 365 or G-Suite, your data is already encrypted when it's stored on your provider's systems.  

 

Disk encryption protects data on your device, so that if your device is lost or stolen, the data can't be read (unless of course the thief / finder has your password or key - you did choose a secure password, right?).

 

How do I use encryption?

Disk encryption is already available, and switched on by default on:

  • Android devices since 2015 running Android Marshmallow or later

  • Apple devices running iOS 8 or later since iPhone 3GS or later, iPod touch 3rd gen or later, and any iPad

Disk encryption is available (but not enabled by default on):

  • Modern Apple Macs (running OSX Lion or later) - see here for how to enable FileVault

  • PCs and laptops running Windows 10 Professional - see here for how to enable Bitlocker

If you work in a company with an IT team or outsourced service provider, be sure to ASK THEM before trying this on company equipment - setting up encryption in a business environment has implications that need some planning, and should always be handled by competent IT professionals.

 

Encryption on removable media

If you have a real business need to share or transfer information on removable media (USB, Memory cards, CD/DVD, external hard drives), then you should always be using encryption to protect that data while it's on the device. 

 

Various tools are available to help with this, including the ones mentioned above.

 

If you would like more information about encryption and how it can help your business, please contact us.

 

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