Automated Encryption Protects Small Business Laptop Data

While the growing array of mobile tools and applications for small business owners increases productivity immeasurably, heavy use of laptops and mobile devices can also expose your company’s data to unauthorized access if the device is lost or stolen. While taking prudent steps to protect the physical security of your laptop will reduce the risk considerably, installing and using automated encryption software is another important tool to help protect your data in the event your mobile device falls into the wrong hands.

Securing Data

Automated encryption programs protect data from unauthorized access by storing it in a scrambled form that an unauthorized user can’t read or copy.

If an encrypted laptop is lost or stolen, the risk of the data on that machine from being accessed inappropriately or exploited for fraudulent purposes is all but eliminated.

Depending on your needs, you may choose to encrypt specific folders for highly sensitive data while leaving routine files unencrypted and easily accessible.

As you configure the encryption software, you’ll be prompted to create a strong password to be able to access the data, and the software will generate a file known as the encryption key. As you log onto your laptop, you’ll be prompted to enter the password so you’ll be able to access data or to save your files to the hard drive.

Before encrypting data on a hard drive, it’s a good idea to perform a complete backup of that drive. If the encryption process fails, or if you experience a power outage while data is being encrypted, it can be difficult to recover the data, so a backup is a prudent step before you begin

The latest version of the Windows operating system includes built in encryption features, and a variety of third-party encryption programs are available for Windows and OS X computers. Different applications offer a variety of features, and different levels of encryption. Some laptop models may include built-in fingerprint readers to permit access to the machine’s data and applications.

Mobile Data Remote Wipe

While planning your company’s data protection strategy, don’t overlook the growing volume of data that is stored on team members’ smart phones and portable computing devices. While the operating systems and processing chips in mobile devices doesn’t make full disk encryption a practical solution, enabling the ability to wipe the device’s contents remotely in the event of loss or theft is a prudent security step.

Overcoming Resistance

Despite the powerful benefits of installing encryption software on your company’s laptops, it’s common for team members to complain about, and even try to bypass, encryption.

Early versions of encryption software were criticized for making the overall performance of the system seem slow, but with today’s more powerful processors and more efficient decryption software, the so-called encryption overhead will be barely noticeable to the vast majority of users.

While some team members may complain about the need to enter a password every time they boot up, the added benefits of protecting your company’s data from unauthorized access if the device is lost or stolen make encryption and password protection a worthwhile investment in your company’s security.

What steps are you taking to make sure your data is protected? Share your comments below.

Susan Wilson Solovic is an award-winning entrepreneur and journalist, author of three best-selling books, multi-media personality and contributor to ABC News and other outlets, public speaker and attorney. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

Susan Solovic CEO Susan Solovic Media Group About Susan