Autumn is not only a good time of year to think about protecting ourselves from the cold and keeping warm, it’s also the ideal time to ensure our company data is totally protected too.
In our latest IT Security Update, (perfectly timed for Cyber Security Awareness Month!), Jamie looks at why encryption should be an essential part of your cybersecurity strategy to help protect your business and reputation.
All your business PC’s and Laptops should be encrypted.
So, what is encryption?
In cryptology, encryption is the process of encoding information - protecting sensitive information or data from prying eyes by using mathematical models to scramble it in such a way that only the parties who have the key to unscramble it can access the data. Encryption helps keep you safe whilst doing things like browsing the internet, shopping online and reading emails on your computer or mobile device. It's critical to computer cybersecurity as it helps to protect data and systems, as well as helping to protect you against identity theft.
But did you know that if your laptop hard drive isn’t encrypted, somebody could take that hard drive out of your laptop, plug it into another machine and read all the data on it? Using the right software and assuming you used Outlook, they could then read any e-mails downloaded onto your laptop as well, all without the need for any passwords!
The same of course applies to your computers. I picked on laptops because they are often the devices that go missing, most likely getting left behind or going walkies at service stations or from the backseats of cars, but the cybersecurity of PCs is equally as important.
If an office is broken into, for example, and all the computers in there are stolen but they haven't been encrypted, you will need to understand what personal data was held on each of the machines. As that data has now been stolen, it is classed as breached.
However, if the computers are encrypted, and someone removes the hard drives from the machines, they will be unreadable. Without the decryption key, the stolen drives are no more use than as a paperweight.
So, to recap, if an encrypted device goes missing, it’s inconvenient. If an unencrypted device goes missing, it’s a real headache as you’ll need to understand what personal data you’ve potentially exposed and any GDPR considerations that come with it.
Luckily, almost all mobile devices have encryption enabled by default (Apple \ Android devices) and they have done for years. The same also applies to tablets (Apple \ Android).
How easy is it to turn on encryption?
To improve your device’s cybersecurity, Microsoft offers Bitlocker, a full volume encryption feature, free for all Professional and Enterprise editions of Windows. Any computer or device running Windows 11 should have the necessary requirements to run this software. Some older operating systems may also have the correct capabilities, however, a quick check with our service desk team will confirm this.
Once upon a time encryption was seen to slow hard drive access down, however, with modern SSD drives this is no longer an issue and certainly not one of note anyway. Therefore, once set up on your computer or device, you won't notice it's there but it will add a necessary layer of defence in your cybersecurity.
Due to the complexities involved in the encryption process, we recommend this work is carried out in conjunction with our IT security team. Therefore, if you want to ensure your company devices are protected, please contact email@example.com or your account manager to get this scheduled in for action.