If you have one resolution for the new year consider data encryption…
With the industry we all work in I can almost guarantee each of us know of at least on person who has lost their laptop or cell phone somewhere along the way. Although the loss of the device can be a time consuming item to replace, the time may only be the start of the issues. Our devices don’t just contain our data, confidential client information, data for cases and research, emails, graphics and the list goes on. What can happen to all of this data?
Passwords DO NOT protect data
Passwords on computers and cell phones are great to stop the casual snoop, but the data on the device is still open. Simply plugin the HDD or Memory card into a computer and walla all your data is there. There are also freely available apps on the net that will allow the new “owner” of your device to access and or reset your current password! Passwords DO NOT protect you data.
Its never too late to start and never a bad idea. Before any encryption is implemented, please make a full system backup. I guess that should be another rant 😉
To keep things simple we will only be looking at Microsoft Windows 7 and 8.1 (yep skipping Win 8).
Win 7 was the first Microsoft OS to come with encryption out of the box, Bitlocker. But things are never that easy; Only two versions of windows 7 can run the Bitlocker service; Ultimate and Enterprise, if you are not running one of these 2 flavors you will need 3rd party software (this will be discussed below) as for Bitlocker please look it up it is a very good and free option. Bitlocker Info
Once again Microsoft did not make Bitlocker available on all Win 8.1 flavors this time the Pro and Enterprise editions are the ones you want. Lots o reading here
Well yes and no!
If you clicked the links above there is a lot of information to go thru, unfortunately your computer may not make Bitlocker work with out the use of a USB flash drive or a pin. INFO
To make using a computer as simple as it should be (no extra pins or USB devices) it needs to contain a TPM (Trusted Platform Module). TPMs are a chip in many new computers, although not all! If buying new machines this is an item that should not be skipped.
I know this all seems like sooo much effort, but just think of all the problems that could be caused by the loss of unencrypted data.
Protecting the Non Bitlocker versions of Windows
Before May 2014 this would have been a very easy call for me to make; TrueCrypt! These days the answer is not so obvious. There are other free / open source options, none of them have the same flexibility that TrueCrypt offered.
Because of this i will not be recommending ANY Encryption software 😉 it seems safer that way… What I will include is some offerings from various Open Source and paid providers. Please research your options.
Check with you PC manufacturer to see what solutions they have
Free Open Source
DiskCryptor (full disk encryption)
AES Crypt (file encryption)
Challenger (file encryption free personal use)
7Zip (if this zip software is not already installed on you system, hmmm. Shame on you)
External HDDs, USB Drives And Email Attachments O My
The smaller these devices get the easier they are to lose. External HDDs are very popular to run trials from, don’t forget these need the same protection that our computers and Devices now enjoy.
The security offerings included in Trial Director DO NOT protect the data that makes up your case, only the database!