What is Encryption and do I need it? #GDPR compliance

Everybody is talking about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which is coming into force on 25th May 2018. The official Guide by the ICO can be found here – with 12 Steps to take now. Encryption GDPR

As part of the directive, business owners have a duty to protect the data they hold and one form of protection suggested is to encrypt your data.


What exactly is Encryption?

Encryption is the process by which data is converted from a readable form into an (unreadable) scrambled version by encoding it with an encryption key. Without this key, the data can no longer be read so is safe from prying eyes.

There are two main ways of using encryption on computers:

– Encrypting just specific files and / or folders
– Encrypting your whole hard drive

Whilst encrypting the whole hard drive might slow your computer start-up down a few minutes, it means that you do not have to worry about forgetting or missing any folders and files out accidentally (i.e. emails).

Do I need to encrypt – my data really isn’t that confidential surely?

The short answer is YES, you do.

Whether you are self-employed, run a small business or a large enterprise, you have a duty to protect your data and your customer’s data from prying eyes. So in the event that your computer is lost or stolen – and no, a Windows password alone will not be regarded as a sufficient method of protecting your data – you can be rest assured that nobody but you (and whoever else you authorise) can access the data.

The same applies to external hard drives you are (hopefully) using for you backups.

Embarrassment aside, the penalties by the ICO for data breach are set high. Encrypting your data shows your customers that you are a professional and care about their data.

So, how exactly do I encrypt?

Only the Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions offer the free Bitlocker encryption but there are plenty other free and paid software encryption methods out there. When choosing the right solution for you, it really comes down to ease, cost and trust.
Encryption gone wrong, can lock you out of your computer and files completely, so trust is an important factor.

Encryption should only be one part of your overall strategy to protect your data, alongside with professional Antivirus software and working backup system.

In practical terms, once it’s all been set up properly, a good encryption software just runs silently in the background – and the only thing you should have to do is remember the encryption key!


And finally…

Backing up your data is always important, but with an encrypted drive, even more so: if an encrypted hard drive gets corrupted or breaks, retrieval of data can be impossible.

Get in touch if you want any advice or prefer for us to get you all set up – an hour well worth investing in that can save you money and a lot of aggravation in the long run!
Whether you want a package deal (incl. Antivirus, Backup and Encryption) or just the encryption to keep our data safe.


Have PC Harmony,
so you can concentrate on the more important things in life…