Drive Encryption Secures Your Data – Even if Stolen
Most people aren’t surprised when crime rates tend to go up over the holiday season – but in this day and age, cyber crimes are particular are on the rise. Taking care of the physical loss of any equipment can be hard enough, but at least it can be done. When it comes to irreplaceable data, it’s a total loss without taking the proper preventative measures. What can you do to stop your data, if ever stolen, from being used?
Encrypting Your Hard Drive
Drive encryption is the answer. Without it, a thief can simply put your unencrypted drive into their own computer, and read the data as if it were their own.
Even worse, without encryption already in place, a ransomware attack could easily seize the data on your servers and then they would encrypt your unprotected drives – essentially locking you out of your own data, even if the drives are still physically in your possession. This is exactly what the hackers who created the SamSam malware did to “hold hostage” several state government services in Atlanta, Georgia (as well as Colorado, Alabama, Maryland, and North Carolina).
There’s no drawback to encrypting your data, and it’s not as hard as it might sound. We’re going to run through a few of the basics so that you can encrypt your private data and protect yourself much more effectively from cyber crime.
Different Operating Systems – Same Solution
Both Mac and Windows have easy-to-use encryption tools. By default, Mac uses the program FileVault (ever since OS X 10.3, aka Panther) – and Windows users have BitLocker (since Vista). For the latter to work, users must upgrade their Windows 10 Home systems to Windows 10 Pro, which allows users to enable BitLocker.
Both Bitlocker and FileVault will fully encrypt and password-protect your hard drive, for which you’ll need to select a robust key-phrase password and store it in a safe place. Once encrypted, unauthorized users would need your secret key to access the data even if your drive (or cloud data) fell into the wrong hands.
Types of Encryption
By default, BitLocker uses AES-128 bit encryption, but it can be configured to use AES-256 bit instead (via BitLocker’s “Group Policy” setting). The numbers relate to the length and complexity of the key needed to unlock the encryption. AES-256 is very robust, whereas, with AES-128 bit keys, a competent hacker would have a much easier time using “brute force” attacks – i.e., using sheer computational power – to algorithmically guess at the key phrase until successful. The same tactic with AES-256 would take an extremely long amount of time, making it a much more secure form of encryption.
Encrypting a single hard drive here and there can be easy enough to do if you can set it aside and use other devices while you wait. We recommend starting the encryption process when you won’t need to use that computer. On a business-wide scale or network, it can become very time-consuming, both for a small bootstrapped company or a large business, to encrypt your data site-wide. That’s why Colorado Computer Support is here to help make shorter, easier work of large-scale encryption processes – enabling you to focus all the more on the quality of your services and products that make your business great.
Colorado Computer Support – Comprehensive Data Security
Colorado Computer Support has been keeping Colorado businesses safe and secure with award-winning IT solutions for the most common, and uncommon, digital information management challenges. With 87% of Colorado businesses experiencing cybercrime every year, it’s not hard to see why CCS is increasingly relied on to secure their product, customer, and employee data in the Denver Metro and Front Range areas – and Colorado-wide businesses and institutions.
You can learn more about all things IT and cyber security on our frequently updated blog – with IT tips and news framed with the latest needs of Colorado businesses in mind. It’s how we contribute to keeping our local economy Colorado Strong.
Our reliable and locally relevant services will keep your business up and running even during unforeseen setbacks. Call CCS at 719.355.2440 or contact us online to let us know your particular cyber security and IT needs.
Thanks to our friends at Velocity IT in Dallas for their support of CCS over the years. Check out their website here.