Are you the one that stores sensitive data in your PC? We all do it or have done it before, especially with information such as passwords for bank accounts, credit card numbers and even tax information. Getting to know how to encrypt sensitive data is a must if you have this type of information in your computer.
Have you ever heard about encryption and why is it important to safeguard your information? Briefly, encryption is known as the translation of data into a secret code or algorithm, which makes very difficult for hackers to have access to your data. Trying to break encryption codes is a mathematically daunting task and it can take months or even years. This is why hackers give up when trying to decrypt files.
What’s the Best Way to Encrypt Sensitive Data?
Encryption is a critical component of security that protects your files even if your PC gets stolen, and it makes you less vulnerable to cyber-theft. According to how valuable the information you have on your PC is, there are two different ways to encrypt it:
The most traditional way to encrypt sensitive data is by using a free file encryption software such as VeraCrypt or FileVault. But, if you own a Windows 10 PC, we have great news! Windows 10 has its own encryption software called BitLocker. You might be wondering: “how do I get started?” To encrypt your data using BitLocker follow these simple steps and protect your files from cyber-thieves today:
- Go to Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption.
- Click on the “Turn on BitLocker” button and choose how you want to unlock your drive during startup: Insert a USB flash drive or Enter a password. If you select to choose a password, make sure to create a strong password mixing uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Once you have typed it in, hit “Next”.
- In the following screen, you will be given options to back up your recovery key in case you forget your password: Save to your Microsoft account, Save to a USB flash drive, Save to a file, Print the recovery key. Choose the one that is most convenient for you and keep the recovery key in a safe place. Afterwards, click “Next”.
- According to your current scenario, select an encryption option: Encrypt used disk space only (faster and best for new PCs and drives), Encrypt entire drive (slower but best for PCs and drives already in use). Click “Next” and you will see a new screen with two encryption options: New encryption mode, Compatible mode. Tip: New encryption mode method provides additional integrity support against cyber-attacks.
- In the next screen, make sure to check the “Run BitLocker system check” option and click “Continue”.
- After completing all of these steps, restart your computer to begin the encryption process. BitLocker will ask you to enter your password to unlock the drive, once you do that, you’ll see the status of the encryption process. In some cases, the status can be “encrypting” depending on the size of the drive. But you can still work on your PC while the process continues. Once it’s ready, the drive level should read “BitLocker on”.
According to a recent study about cloud security, on premise environment or public cloud users experience an average of 61.4 attacks, while service provider environment averaged only 27.8 attacks.
If your data is too valuable for you, consider to use cloud encryption services from a trustworthy provider such as Carbonite. This specific provider makes sure to encrypt sensitive data before moving it to the cloud. Carbonite uses a 128-bit Blowfish encryption and later on send the information using a Transport Layer Security (TSL) to one of their professionally managed data centers.
Keep in mind that encryption is another layer of protection that’s highly recommended but it’s not the only one. To safeguard your personal information you also have to take into consideration securing your Wi-Fi network and having computer backup solutions.