Do you carry your laptop everywhere you go?  Okay, maybe not everywhere (no one needs a blog post from the loo) – but often enough that theft, or the gentler term: loss, is a real concern.  Passwords, PINs, and biometrics (thumbprints and facial recognition) aren’t enough to protect your private data from being snooped! They act as a locked gate to your digital world, but without encryption – all your drapes are wide open and you’re living in a glass house.

If you have Windows or Mac OS computer, a thief only needs to remove the hard drive and plug it into another computer, after a couple clicks all your data is fully accessible and it’s no longer really YOUR data, is it?

Before we begin, both methodologies below involve either creating a passphrase or recovery key.  If you create the passphrase, either make it something you will absolutely remember or as in the case with a generated recovery key – save it and keep it somewhere safe (a printed copy sealed in an envelope in a fireproof safe is an excellent choice).

For Windows machines, Microsoft has created a built-in solution called BitLocker.  Bad news: it requires the Enterprise edition of Windows 7/8.1 or the Professional edition of Windows 10.  If you are using Windows 7/8.1, you should consider upgrading to Windows 10 Professional.  Upgrading to a new version of Windows is not for the faint of heart, if you need assistance please contact IT Guys Consulting.  If you are using Windows 10 Home, you can purchase an in-place upgrade from Microsoft that will make BitLocker available for use.  This is a relatively painless process, though your credit card may complain!

So, you now have Windows 7/8.1 Enterprise edition or Windows 10 Professional edition, what’s next?  Check out this handy YouTube tutorial: here.  If you’re uncomfortable making this change, please contact IT Guys Consulting and we can discuss the next steps together.

Apple makes life a lot easier on Mac OS users. There is no distinction between different editions of the operating system, however, encryption (called FileVault in MacOS speak) is still not turned on by default and requires a simple change to activate.  Apple outlines the steps to turn it on here.

As mentioned throughout the post, if you need assistance with any of the above or with any other computer-related matter, please don’t hesitate to contact IT Guys Consulting at 416.356.1981 or inquiries@itguysconsulting.ca