Encryption of data has gained importance in the wake of data leaks in top firms and the insecure world we live in. Encryption is not necessarily useful only for companies, it is also beneficial for individuals considering the amount of information we store on the cloud.
If you are using a laptop from a computer rentals firm, encryption becomes all the more important, especially when you use thumb or USB hard drives or use the Internet to share important data related to your research, for instance. Encrypting data on your hard drive is fairly easy; there are some applications that you can enable if your computer has Windows 7 (Enterprise or Ultimate), Pro, Vista or Windows 8 Enterprise version.
Some other applications don’t need your PC to have these requirements; choose one that is ideal. A good open source application allows you to create a ‘disk’ on the computer that feels like a typical disk on the PC. The same applies to the USB or thumb drives too.
VPN is very important
The most important encryption could be when you need to protect incoming and outgoing Internet traffic. This is particularly true if you are using a Wi-Fi network in a public place such as an airport where a hacker can easily hack into data that leaves and enters you laptop. You need a virtual private network or VPN to encrypt your Internet data. The VPN helps create a tunnel that is secure and leads to a trusted server which is a third party one.
If you use a file sharing network, you should know that the service encrypts data you share for you. However, they have the power to decrypt your data as well, under certain circumstances. If you want another layer of protection for your files in the cloud, you could again use an encryption software that can be installed in your cloud service.
Outlook and Office files
Email on your Outlook can be encrypted as well; it is not based on passwords but on receiving digital certificates which decrypt or encrypt messages automatically. Users would need to share these certificates before sharing messages that are encrypted. If you want to send mails that nobody else but your recipient can receive and read, you can use a browser-based application for encryption.
If you Office 2010 or 2013, you can encrypt any document by going to File – Info – Protect Document. Then click on Encrypt with Password. This applies to Excel, PowerPoint or Word. You can use the same method to encrypt your PDFs as well.