aNewDomain.net—It’s ironic that we leave the house with items which are both critical for day-to-day transactions, yet will get us in the most trouble when we lose them. We walk out with car and house keys, a purse or wallet that is packed with credit cards, and as befits this age, a mobile device that contains virtually all our other critical information.
The FBI estimates that 1 in 10 laptops will be stolen in their lifetime. If you don’t prepare for the eventuality of losing a laptop, the consequences can be devastating. Preparing for the loss can turn a catastrophe into a more manageable inconvenience.
One of the easiest ways to protect data in case a laptop is lost is full disk encryption. Today’s encryption is so powerful that it’s virtually impenetrable.
Disk encryption is a technology which protects information by converting it into unreadable code that cannot be deciphered unless an encryption key is entered. Disk encryption software installed on the laptop prevents unauthorized access to data storage. By entering an encryption key—usually just a complex password—authorized users can get to the data while thieves are only left guessing.
An encrypted laptop is essentially a brick to whoever finds it. The thief can still format or even replace the drive and use it like a new laptop, but they won’t get your data which is worth far more than the laptop’s replacement value.
Full disk encryption means that that everything on disk is encrypted including the programs and the bootable operating system partitions—when part of the disk is necessarily not encrypted. Applications such as TrueCrypt or FileVault encrypt the OS startup volume in its entirety.
Keep in mind if you lose that password or passphrase you’ll have as much luck getting your data as a thief who stole your device.
Based in New York, Dino Londis is a senior commentator at aNewDomain.net, IT Pro alum National Lampoon and teamBYTE. Email him at [email protected].Tags: Gadgets & Devices,Mobility,Security