Tens of thousands of people lose their laptops every year. And while you might join the ranks of that not-so-exclusive club, you can play it smart and protect the data on board by encrypting the hard drive. ESecurityPlanet.com guides you through the process.
The loss or theft of a laptop is an all-too-frequent occurrence. Whether it’s swiped from the trunk of a car, absentmindedly left in the back seat of a cab, or vanishes amidst the confusion of a busy airport security check-in, it usually means that an expensive piece of equipment will never be seen again.
But the value of the hardware may pale in comparison to that of the data that resides on it, especially if the data’s of a sensitive nature, such as confidential company plans or client contact information. If your laptop’s running either the Ultimate or Enterprise editions of Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you can take advantage of the BitLocker feature to encrypt the hard drive via 128-bit AES, ensuring that even if the laptop is lost or stolen, valuable data will be safe from prying eyes.
In contrast to Windows Encrypting File System (EFS), which encrypts individual files and folders, BitLocker encrypts the entire hard drive–the operating system (including the hibernation and paging files) along with all applications and data. As a result, it provides a level of protection far beyond what you get from standard Windows account authentication or NTFS file permissions.
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