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FOLDER ENCRYPTION OR A SELF ENCRYPTING DRIVE?

Now let’s talk about when to use the three types of encryption that you can use:

  • Individual file encryption
  • Folder encryption
  • Hard drive / Disk encryption

Individual file encryption

As the name implies, individual file encryption refers to encrypting one file at a time. Each file has its own password or key.

Individual file encryption is great for files you plan to share or store in the cloud. Windows 10 users can encrypt individual files using a tool like 7-zip. You can also encrypt individual Microsoft Office files from within their apps, although this is better suited to casual person use than protection against serious adversaries.Now let’s talk about when to use the three types of encryption that you can use:

Individual file encryption
Folder encryption
Hard drive / Disk encryption
Individual file encryption
As the name implies, individual file encryption refers to encrypting one file at a time. Each file has its own password or key.

Individual file encryption is great for files you plan to share or store in the cloud. Windows 10 users can encrypt individual files using a tool like 7-zip. You can also encrypt individual Microsoft Office files from within their apps, although this is better suited to casual person use than protection against serious adversaries.

Folder encryption
Next up is folder level encryption. This approach involves encrypting everything that is stored in a folder. Passwords or keys are assigned to the folder, not individual files.

Folder encryption is a great organizational tool. For example, you could create a different encrypted folder for each member of your family. Give Sally only the password for her folder, and Jimmy only the password for his, and each can have their own private space on the same device.

Note that storing a file in an encrypted folder doesn’t prevent you from also encrypting files individually.

Hard drive / Disk encryption
Hard drive or disk encryption protects the entire drive at once. To use a device with an encrypted hard drive you would need to enter the password or key when you logged on, or nothing on the disk would be accessible.

This kind of encryption is a good first line of defense in case of theft. If someone stole your laptop, or ripped the drives out of one of your servers, they would need to defeat the hard drive encryption to get any data at all.

You can still apply folder level encryption and individual file encryption to an encrypted disk.

Folder encryption

Next up is folder level encryption. This approach involves encrypting everything that is stored in a folder. Passwords or keys are assigned to the folder, not individual files.

Folder encryption is a great organizational tool. For example, you could create a different encrypted folder for each member of your family. Give Sally only the password for her folder, and Jimmy only the password for his, and each can have their own private space on the same device.

Note that storing a file in an encrypted folder doesn’t prevent you from also encrypting files individually.

Hard drive / Disk encryption

Hard drive or disk encryption protects the entire drive at once. To use a device with an encrypted hard drive you would need to enter the password or key when you logged on, or nothing on the disk would be accessible.

This kind of encryption is a good first line of defense in case of theft. If someone stole your laptop, or ripped the drives out of one of your servers, they would need to defeat the hard drive encryption to get any data at all.

You can still apply folder level encryption and individual file encryption to an encrypted disk.

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