Laptops are mobile devices. They are convenient for work and play because they can go anywhere. The drawback is that convenience and mobility also mean they can be easily stolen along with the data they contain. This is why hard disk encryption is a critical component of data security for every organization.
What is Hard Disk Encryption?
Disk encryption is a technology that protects the information on your laptop by converting it into unreadable code that cannot be deciphered easily by prying eyes. Encrypting the hard drive on your personal laptop or organization’s laptops scrambles the data on the drive so unauthorized people can’t access it.
This means anyone attempting to access the data requires a password to unscramble it. This means if your laptop is lost or stolen, the data is useless to anyone without the right password. Ultimately, this means better data protection for you and your organization.
Be Smart and Compliant
Protecting your most valuable data is not only smart but adding extra layers of data protection is required by government regulations in some industries and states. In some states, encryption is required by law if the laptop contains personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. For example, Massachusetts and Nevada both specifically mention encryption in their state laws. Hard disk encryption for your organization’s laptops goes hand in hand with best security practices and should be included in the company’s written information security plan (WISP).
How to Encrypt Your Hard Drive with Windows 10
Since encrypting is an easy best practice, you can do it on your personal laptop very easily. Microsoft’s proprietary disk encryption software for Windows 10 is BitLocker. With eight simple steps, your data can be encrypted and you can even use it to protect against unauthorized changes to your system from threats like malware.
- Find the hard drive you want to encrypt under “This PC” in Windows Explorer.
- Right-click on the target drive and choose “Turn on BitLocker.”
- Choose “Enter a Password.”
- Enter a secure password you have not used anywhere else.
- Choose “How to Enable Your Recovery Key.” This will help you if you forget your password.
- Choose “Encrypt Entire Drive.” This option is more secure and encrypts files you marked for deletion as well.
- Unless you need your drive to be compatible with older Windows machines, choose “New Encryption Mode.”
- Click “Start Encrypting” to begin the encryption process. This will require your laptop to restart if you’re encrypting your boot drive. While this process will take some time, it will run in the background so you can still use your computer if necessary.
How to Encrypt Your Hard Drive on a Mac
The standard default for encrypting a Mac is with FileVault and it’s already on your computer. FileVault 2 is available in OS X Lion or later. When FileVault is turned on, your Mac will always require an account password to log in. To encrypt your hard drive on a Mac, follow these instructions:
- Choose Apple menu (Mac) > System Preferences, then click “Security & Privacy.”
- Click the “FileVault” tab.
- Click the lock image, then enter an administrator name and password.
- Click “Turn On FileVault.”
If you are a small business owner or an IT administrator with several computers or a major company that needs encryption along with management and reporting software, ORAM Corporate Advisors can help you affordably and easily. We offer software that monitors and manages encryption for all of the computers on your network (which is ideal with so many people working remotely). Additionally, the software is capable of generating reports for proof of regulatory compliance.
The bottom line: encrypt your laptop drive to allow your data to safely survive.
For more information about hard disc encryption, cybersecurity best practices, and data protection for your organization, contact ORAM Corporate Advisors at (617) 933-5060. The initial consultation is free and there is no obligation.