Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get about hard drive encryption at Micro Center:
Q: Do I have to have my drive encrypted?
A: No, but many companies that deal with sensitive information including both the medical industry and the government may have polices that require it. Encryption is a good idea for anyone who holds anyone’s personal information, such as medical records or social security numbers. Otherwise, encryption may not be worth it to use.
Q: Why should I encrypt my drive?
A: Encryption is a way to secure the data to prevent other people from accessing it. This is especially helpful if there is a security breach. Also, it protects personal information that can be used for malicious purposes if malware is already installed on the computer.
Q: How does encryption protect my data?
A: Encryption scrambles the data in a way that makes it unreadable without the correct encryption key. Currently, encryption is one of the most popular and effective data security methods used by organizations.
Q: What are Encryption Keys?
A: Encryption keys are random strings of characters used to scramble and unscramble data. Encryption keys are designed with algorithms intended to ensure that every key is unpredictable and unique.
Q: Are encryptions any more secure than a password?
A: Yes, Encryption keys typically use RSA Algorithms that are more complex than a normal password. With password protection it’d be like putting a padlock on a box with the information inside. If you broke the box up, you’d have the information, regardless of if you managed to break up the padlock. Encryption is a mathematical process where the information becomes nonsense to people who can’t decrypt it.
Q: What does TPM stand for?
A: TPM stands for Trusted Platform Module. A TPM is a specialized chip in computers to store encryption keys.
Q: Do you need a TPM to use encryption?
A: No, some programs can store the encryption keys on another device like a flash drive. Many encryption software does require a TPM chip, so make sure to read up on the requirements before buying the program.
Q: How do I encrypt my drive?
A: Many options are available including software options such as BitLocker and hardware options such as Touch ID fingerprint scanner on Apple iPhones.
To use BitLocker, search for Control Panel in Cortana. Click on System and Security, then BitLocker Drive Encryption. Click Turn on BitLocker . Choose Enter a password and enter in the desired password. Follow the prompts and once the computer is restarted, it will ask for the password.
Q: What is BitLocker?
A: BitLocker is a built-in windows feature that encrypts the hard drive. By default, BitLocker is turned off. It can only be enabled through the Windows control panel. BitLocker is not available on Windows Home editions.
Q: Where can I find my BitLocker Recovery Key?
A: Here is an article detailing the steps to find the key. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4026181/windows-10-find-my-bitlocker-recovery-key
Q: What happens if I am not using BitLocker, and do not have the security key?
A: The data will remain encrypted; it is extremely difficult to recover and access files that have been encrypted. Micro Center is not able to access data from encrypted drives. Recovering data from encrypted drives is very expensive. For more information about this please see our Data Services page for possible assistance from Micro Center!! https://www.microcenter.com/site/service/instore-service-hdd-data-recovery.aspx
Q: Software or Hardware encryption, which is the best option?
A: Both options provide security to the data stored, however software options typically are cheaper and rely on a password, where Hardware options typically are more expensive and use other methods of authentication such as a fingerprint, or other biometrics.
Q: Can I just encrypt certain files instead of the whole drive?
A: Yes, some programs do give the option for encrypting a selection of files, but it is less secure than a full drive encryption. For BitLocker, in Windows Explorer, right-click on the file or folder you wish to encrypt. From the context-menu, select Properties. Click Advanced. In the Advanced Attributes dialogue box, under Compress or Encrypt Attributes, check Encrypt contents to secure data. Click OK and then Apply.
Q: Can data be recovered from a failed drive?
A: Yes, however you still need the recovery key or the original encryption keys to unscramble the data. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible and can be very expensive. For more information about this please see our Data Services page for possible assistance from Micro Center! https://www.microcenter.com/site/service/instore-service-hdd-data-recovery.aspx