Encryption is the process of turning information into text by using an algorithm (called a cipher) in order to enable anyone to read it except those with a particular identification, usually referred to as a key. The result of this process is encrypted information, also known as ciphertext.
Therefore, encryption turns out to be a great ally in information security, as it protects any kind of data from undue access, especially personal data of an organization’s internal as well as external data subjects.
However, with the exception of information technology professionals, encryption is ignored by most people who barely even hear anyone mention it in a conversation or article.
Surely, Windows system users are unaware that it has an encryption system called Bitlocker. It has been available since Windows Vista and, afterwards, through Windows 7, 8, and 10. However, considering that we are in the Windows 10 era, it is important to note that Windows 10 Home Edition does not have Bitlocker.
With Bitlocker it is possible to enable encryption of a device or enable Bitlocker’s default encryption, as shown below:
TO TURN ON DEVICE ENCRYPTION
1. Sign in to Windows with an administrator account (you may have to sign out and back in to switch accounts).
2. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Update & Security > Device Encryption. If Device Encryption does not appear, it is not available. You may be able to turn on standard BitLocker encryption instead.
3. If device encryption is turned off, select Turn on.
TO TURN ON STANDARD BITLOCKER ENCRYPTION
1. Sign in to your Windows device with an administrator account (you may have to sign out and back in to switch accounts).
2. In the search box on the taskbar, type Manage BitLocker and then select it from the list of results. Or you can select the Start button, and then under Windows system, select Control Panel. In Control Panel, select System and Security, and then under BitLocker Drive Encryption, select Manage BitLocker. Note: you will only see this option if BitLocker is available for your device. It is not available on Windows 10 Home edition.
3. Select Turn on BitLocker and then follow the instructions.
However, encryption is not limited to Bitlocker, although this is possibly the best known and most widespread encryption system in the corporate world, due to the use of Windows platform.
There are four other encryption systems that deserve a quick mention:
Although some organizations are banning file transfers through devices plugged into USB ports, such as pen drives or portable hard drives, there are several encryption software options for these devices, as shown in the examples below:
Large information technology (IT) companies likewise invest in encryption systems, such as IBM Security Guardium, which performs encryption and decryption with minimal performance impact and numerous other valuable services, and Dell Data Protection, which offers in addition to encryption, multifactor authentication and support for smart cards and cryptographic tokens. Similarly, antivirus companies also develop encryption systems such as McAfee, Trend, and Symantec.
Although the National Data Protection Authority (ANPD) has not yet had a more austere action in applying penalties on those who breach the General Data Protection Act (LGPD) in Brazil, the European Union regulatory bodies acting in the protection of personal data have penalized both public and private entities, and even individuals who disrespect the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is important to point out that the highest penalties are those applied as a result of failures in information security or leakage of personal data, for inefficiency or negligence in keeping such data.
Thus, encryption must be demystified at once as a system used only by large organizations, and its use should be encouraged by small and medium organizations as well. With the diversity of applications on the market, even the individual user can use encryption on their systems, free of charge or at a very reasonable cost.