One of the greatest perks of modern technology is the ability to work from almost anywhere. Most companies have adopted more lax telecommuting policies, with employees working multiple days a week from home (or Starbucks, if you have the magic ability to filter out blaring top 100 pop music). Few of those companies seem to be worried about the security holes that widen when you take laptops containing company data outside into the world, and bypass the importance of encryption.
We constantly hammer you about your passwords – make them complex, change them often, don’t reuse them, and so on. Because of this people think that if your computer is password protected, and it falls into the wrong hands, nothing bad can happen – they won’t be able to sign in and do anything malicious. For the most part, that’s true – without the password, they can’t sign into your computer. They can try to ‘brute force’ your password (where a computer program tries millions of random passwords repeatedly until they find the right one) but with a sufficiently complex password, that would literally take thousands of years. That’s not a huge concern.
Even though they can’t log into your computer with your password, a driven enough individual could still access some of your data from your hard drive. If a thief opens up your computer, removes your hard drive, and plugs it into their computer, they will be able to open up and view its contents. That means all of your files are fair game – your desktop, your documents, your pictures, etc. With some reasonably priced advanced tools, they may be able to extract saved passwords and other private data as well.
Thankfully, using “Full Disk Encryption” (FDE), we can fully secure that hard drive so that even if it were removed, the contents would be locked without the encryption key. Just like a login password secures your account from unauthorized access, FDE secures your whole hard drive. FDE is non-intrusive and will make hardly any impact on your workflow. When your computer is protected via FDE, the only thing you have to do is enter the FDE password when you first turn on your computer. After hitting the power button to turn it on, the computer will refuse to start unless you can provide that password. After doing so, your computer will start normally, and you can sign in with your regular username and password.