Data security has become one of the top priorities of both small businesses and enterprise corporations. For reasons of both regulatory compliance and avoiding the crippling costs of a data breach, protecting information both in the cloud and on local devices is crucial.
In the event of a lost or stolen desktop or laptop computer or attempted unauthorized access, if the data on that workstation hard drive isn’t encrypted then all types of sensitive information could be exposed.
At Unity IT, we’ve seen firsthand the advent of mobile computing, with many businesses using laptops to give their team the freedom of working from anywhere. The mobility offers some great benefits, but also some IT security challenges that we help our clients in Fresno and the surrounding areas address through use of good data security and encryption.
Workstation disk encryption ensures that only those that are authorized and have the right credentials can access the files on a computer. This offers a much needed layer of protection to any cybersecurity strategy.
Types of Workstation Disk Encryption
Encryption scrambles data on a hard drive according to a specific algorithm so that only the user that has the correct login credentials can unscramble it. So, if someone steals an employee’s laptop, they’re not going to be able to read the data due to the encryption, and will be stopped cold.
There are a few different types of computer encryption:
File or Folder Encryption
This type generally isn’t used as much because workstations can hold hundreds and thousands of data records with sensitive information. However, if you had just a few files that needed encryption, it’s possible to target it at the file or folder level.
This is a bit more expansive than the file/folder level and allows you to encrypt everything that’s saved in a specific container or volume on the hard drive.
This is the most complete form of encryption because it protects everything on a workstation’s hard drive. It’s also easier for users, because they don’t have to worry about saving sensitive files to a particular volume or folder.
When encrypting the entire disk, you will typically provide a passcode or other encryption key from a USB device to unlock the drive’s files.
Here’s Why You Should Use Disk Encryption on Your Computers
Often business owners think of their IT security in terms of keeping people out of their network, which is definitely important. But they don’t always include security measures in the event of a lost or stolen computer. Once a thief has a workstation in their possession, if the drive isn’t encrypted, they can gain access to anything on it, often including saved logins to other company systems and cloud programs.
A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. (TechSpective)
Losing a laptop holding sensitive company records may be more common than you think. In a laptop’s lifetime it has a 1 in 10 chance of being stolen. A survey of IT practitioners found that 86% had a lost or stolen laptop reported in their organization and of those, 56% resulted in a data breach.
Here are four compelling reasons for using disk encryption on your workstations.
Data Privacy Compliance
Many firms around the country are subject to data privacy regulations such as HIPAA or the credit card industry’s PCI DSS. For us Californians, we have a brand new data privacy law to comply with that was passed in June of 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA).
Workstation disk encryption keeps any customer data on your workstations secure and ensures you’re in compliance with the protection of consumer information.
Prevents Data Breaches
Data breaches don’t only occur through a network. Cybercriminals looking for data to exploit financially can also gain access to a workstation when no one’s around or through theft of a laptop, i.e. from an airport, hotel, or while on public transportation.
Disk encryption locks someone out of the files on the hard drive even if they have the computer sitting in front of them.
Protect Email Communications
Stolen emails are becoming more commonplace and they’re considered a treasure trove by hackers. Once they have access to all the emails on a device, they can fish for information or try to extort money from the company to keep them from releasing something embarrassing.
Emails are also included in whole-disk encryption, so any sensitive email trails are protected, and no one can send email out as you over your computer.
Easy to Use
Using a disk encryption technology is user-friendly and doesn’t negatively impact ease of use or productivity. Once the application is installed, it takes care of all the encryption no matter where on the hard drive files are stored. The key to access a system is made to be quick and easy for users.
Learn More About Hard Drive Encryption for Your Workstations
Unity IT can help you implement disk encryption for your computers to ensure you’re not leaving a big gap in your cybersecurity strategy.
Contact us today to learn more at 559-297-1007 or reach out online.