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Protecting Your Laptop Data With Disk Encryption

If you use a laptop, there’s a good chance that there is information on that laptop that should not be made public. Disc encryption can help you protect that data.

While the information in this article can be applied to nearly any device that contains sensitive data, let’s concentrate on your laptop.

What is Disk Encryption?

Disk Encryption refers to the process of making the data stored on a hard disk unreadable unless the correct key (which only you know) is provided.

Why Encrypt?

If you use a laptop, there’s a good chance that there is information on that laptop that should not be made public. If you’re a typical home user, maybe it’s your email, pictures of your family or bank account information.

If you’re a business user, maybe it’s HIPPA-sensitive patient data.

Even if you have to type in a password to access your Windows or Mac desktop, that does not necessarily protect the data on the hard disk. In other words, if you lose your laptop or if it’s stolen, someone with very basic tools (for example, a screwdriver and a USB port) and know-how could remove your hard drive, plug it into their computer, and read/copy everything on it.

If your laptop hard drive was encrypted and it was stolen or lost, it would be nearly impossible to access your data.

How Do You Encrypt?

There are various tools and software packages available to encrypt your data. Some are a free download, some are included with your operating system (Windows and Mac), some are expensive.

There are many options. Here are a few:

True Crypt (www.truecrypt.org) *Free
Symantec (www.symantec.com/products-solutions/families/?fid=encryption) *Paid
CheckPoint (www.checkpoint.com/products/full-disk-encryption *Paid
BitLocker (www.microsoft.com) *Included Windows 7 and Windows 8
File Vault (www.apple.com) *Included with Mac OS X

While this article focuses on laptop hard disk encryption, similar principles apply to thumb drives, smart phones, tablets, etc. In a perfect world, anything that stores data, should be encrypted.

Technology Seed can help you better understand the need for and the processes involved in encrypting your data. Call us at 603-458-7190 or stop in to see us at 2 Dyer Ave, Salem, NH 03079 or visit www.TSeed.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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