When we talk about encryption, often we’re referring to software encryption that requires a user’s password as an encryption key. However, this isn’t the only type of encryption. This guide to the benefits of hard disk encryption software will define and discuss encryption and how it can aid Linux disk encryption, Mac disk encryption, and Windows 10 disk encryption. Hard disk encryption software can improve your security—both internally and for your customers—helping save you time, mitigate liability, and reduce the impact of human error.
What Is disk encryption?
Disk encryption software prevents a disk drive, like a hard drive in a portable USB storage device or laptop, from booting up unless the user inputs the correct authentication data. The booting up process for an operating system involves the first section of the disk—the master boot record—informing the system of where to read the first file, which initiates the loading of the operating system. Without encryption, no special instructions are required to interpret the contents of the disk. By default, files are written in plain text.
When you use disk encryption software, this process is modified. The contents of the disk (except for the master boot record) are encrypted using a modern symmetric cipher accessible via a secret key. The master boot record is modified so that it loads this system, which validates the authentication data from the user. If the authentication process is successful, the encryption key is unlocked.
This system, which varies between different implementations, stores the master key for the device. Authentication information might be a password, a public key-based token, or a fingerprint scan. Once the valid authentication data is read, the master key is decrypted. The master key then remains in the computer’s memory while it’s powered-on. This allows the operating system to first read the disk to boot up, as well as read any other disk contents the user requests while using the computer.
The benefits of hard disk encryption software
1. SECURING DATA FROM HACKERS
Volume level disk encryption helps protect you and your customers from data theft or accidental loss, by rendering data stored on hard drives unreadable when an unauthorized user tries to gain access. Hard disk encryption software makes it very for data to be accessed or stolen by hackers. Even if a hacker were to remove the disk drive from the computer, the information stored on the drive would remain encrypted and recovery would be impossible. As such, disk encryption software provides an effective way of securing your data against cyberattacks.
2. ELIMINATING THE RISK OF HUMAN ERROR
If the security of your data is subject to manual encryption methods, mistakes will inevitably occur. Mistakes of this nature—such as data loss—could result in significant repercussions, including legal liability, damaged reputation, and financial loss. By using automatic encryption methods rather than manual processes, you remove the element of human labor that introduces an additional layer of risk.
3. ELIMINATING THE RISK OF DATA LEAKS
A data leak refers to sensitive data being accidentally exposed. This might be a physical exposure, a vulnerability that could be exploited over the internet, or an exposure in any other form that would result in data falling into the hands of unauthorized individuals. Disk encryption software helps eliminate the risk of data leaks. For example, if a hard drive or laptop were to go missing, disk encryption would help ensure someone couldn’t read the sensitive data stored on the device.
4. MITIGATING THE LIKELIHOOD OF LIABILITY ISSUES ARISING
Disk encryption is ideally suited to organizations that handle data considered to be a critical asset, or which is governed by compliance regulations—for example, GDPR. Wherever there is a risk of data loss, disk encryption software can help protect your company from potential liability issues. This is an especially important consideration for MSPs, as you’re likely to be exposed to higher liability risks due to your data management responsibility for multiple customers.
5. SAVING TIME
Manual encryption methods are extremely time-consuming and significantly less efficient than using disk encryption software. To achieve high-level security with minimal effort, as MSPs should always aim to do, disk encryption software is an ideal solution.
How all-in-one software can help
SolarWinds® N-central® is an all-in-one remote management and monitoring tool that includes highly advanced and user-friendly disk encryption software. As an all-in-one solution, N-central is an ideal tool for busy MSPs, as it helps eliminate the need to implement multiple separate security, management, and monitoring platforms. This is a multi-platform tool providing Linux disk encryption, Mac disk encryption, and Windows 10 disk encryption.
The N-central tool features a security manager tool, which includes integrated disk encryption functionality. This gives you three security options, which are:
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM)—This is a hardware-level security module available on certain computers. When TPM is enabled, the user doesn’t need to enter a password when booting their computer. Instead, they’re presented with the Windows login screen and no password is necessary.
- Trusted Platform Module and PIN—With TPM and PIN used together, the user must input a PIN to unlock the disk and access the login screen. This is the most secure method of encrypting and safeguarding data. This disk encryption security option is recommended by Microsoft.
- Password—This option is the default security setting when a system doesn’t have TPM available, or when it’s not enabled. With this security option, the user is prompted to enter a password when they log into their computer. If the password is correct, the disk is unlocked and the user can proceed to the Windows login screen.
N-central offers an array of other features, including powerful automation that helps you onboard, configure, or patch hundreds of devices with ease. The program’s advanced security solutions, which also include endpoint detection and response, help you to protect your customers at every level—against even the most sophisticated threats. For MSPs interested in learning more, a 30-day free trial of SolarWinds N-central is available.