Tech

Encryption under Windows: Store business data in a protected manner

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Let’s not kid ourselves: especially when working from home, sensitive customer, client, student or employee data can end up on private PCs. And the PC owner already has a queasy feeling, if only because such data usually has much higher data protection requirements than private ones. So how do you protect the data from the eyes of other users of the PC? For example, what if the PC is stolen during a break-in? Or if you want to resell the PC at some point or have to dispose of it because of a defect?

Only encryption helps against this – then nobody can read the sensitive data. But encrypting the entire computer is inconvenient: you have to unlock the PC with a password at the weekend if you want to use it for what you actually bought it for. And once it is unlocked, everything can be seen again in plain text during the current session, and this applies not only to you, but also to the other users. The good news: If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or higher, a combination of on-board drive and file encryption will help you out of the dilemma. This is an acceptable compromise between security and convenience. This article first presents the concept, then describes the steps required for implementation.

Our proposal is based on an encrypted container file that only you can open yourself, because nobody else knows the password. You save all sensitive files in this container file. This works very easily because the container file appears as a virtual drive with its own drive letter in Explorer after unlocking with your password. You can fill this with files, folders and sub-folders like any other drive. You can even run portable applications on it, i.e. those that do not require installation, and save everything in their own program directory. For example, if you use the portable versions of Thunderbird and Firefox, even the emails received with them and the browser history are protected as soon as you close the container file again.

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