The loss or theft of a work laptop is a major headache for any professional. You will incur hardware replacement costs and it may even impact your productivity. However, the more damaging costs are those associated with the loss of sensitive data on that computer, specifically, the privacy implications of a data breach and the resulting damage that loss can do to your reputation. Encrypting your computers ensures that the impact of a loss or theft does not extend beyond the cost of replacing your hardware.
Without encryption, the data on your lost or stolen password-protected laptop isn’t very safe. Windows and Mac laptops by default do not provide encryption of your data. Encryption is a method of storing data so that it is scrambled and without a key (your password) it cannot be accessed, even if the hard drive is removed from your computer. Most computer passwords only provide a basic layer of security which can be easily bypassed with tools. Simply moving the hard drive to another computer is often enough to gain access. Only encryption provides reliable data protection.
Take stock of what sensitive data resides on your company computers. Try to imagine for a moment every file you’ve copied or opened. Yes, even the deleted ones which are often recoverable, even if purged from your recycle bin. Chances are your email client has a local copy of your mailbox and attachments, synced to your computer. And, if other staff have logged into your laptop, even once, you can probably include their mailbox and synced files, too.
This should be concerning, but let’s make sure we are TRULY assessing our risk here. What about personal data? Have you logged into your personal email on your work computer, maybe even saving that password in your web browser? Do you recall that T4 you emailed yourself a few years ago, that mortgage application, or maybe even a saucy email? All of these sensitive documents could be accessed by that easily defeated password.
Encrypting your company’s computers ensures the impact of a loss or theft does not extend beyond the cost of replacing your hardware. Fortunately, protection is simple and cost-effective because Windows Bitlocker is built into Windows 10 and Windows Server. It provides centrally managed encryption to ensure that all computers have encryption policies applied and that encryption keys are backed up so staff are not locked out should they forget their password.
If your organization is not encrypting sensitive data on your laptops, please contact us to setup a meeting.