What Data Encryption Is
Data Encryption is a process that effectively locks the data on any computer which it is installed on and only allows the data to be read by the owner of the device who gains access by means of a password.
Ideally all computers including Desktops, Laptops and Tablets should be encrypted but particularly laptops and tablets as they are easier to steal. Phones and some Tablets are pre-encrypted so there is nothing you need to do other than make sure you have a strong password set up.
So What If Your Data Is Not Encrypted?
If your computer is not encrypted then the Hacker has to simply boot up your computer and if there is no Windows User Account password then they will be allowed into the computer with unfettered access.
If you are using a strong Windows password then you may think the Hacker will not be able to gain access to your data, however, all he or she has to do is physically open up your computer, remove the hard drive, connect it to another computer and they are granted immediate access even if you have a robust password in place. By doing this the password is bypassed and completely ineffective no matter how strong it is.
Benefits Of Encryption
The benefit of encryption is of course that your data has an extra layer of protection, which can in many cases help to mitigate against damage and distress caused by attempted data theft.
The impact of a Hack may be reduced or even avoided if data has been encrypted.
The only option for the Hacker is to guess your Windows password. (Depending on how your encryption has been set up they may also first have to guess a password to get past the boot screen). Physically opening up the computer and connecting the hard drive to another device will no longer be a means of accessing the data as the encryption ensures the data is now unreadable and useless to the attacker.
Applying Encryption across your network will help you stay on the right side of UK GDPR rules which state that, where data is lost or destroyed and it was not encrypted, regulatory action may be pursued depending on the individual circumstance.
Does Encryption Slow My Computers?
Yes File Encryption may slow your computer down depending on the type of work you do on it. For general office work including spreadsheets, letters, email and accounts then you should not notice any difference with a modern computer. If you use CPU intensive software that will use all of your CPU cores and CPU cycles, for example, software that renders videos, then your work will suffer as it will take noticeably longer. A work around for this is to have specific files encrypted instead of encrypting the entire drive.
Remember, just because you have encrypted your data and have a strong password in place, the data is still vulnerable to simply being destroyed by the Hacker in their frustration at not being able to access it. Make sure you have at least one reliable and thoroughly tested Backup System in place or else the encryption could be in vain.