Full-disc encryption

Full-disk encryption and mobile working

How full-disk encryption works and when it is required

Full-disk encryption and mobile working

A Full-Disk Encryption (FDE) protects the information stored on a hard disk from unauthorized access. It works by encrypting all or part of the data on the hard disk. A key is required to access the data or boot the computer. This key is released by authentication, e.g. by entering the user name and password. After the system releases the key, the encryption and decryption happens automatically and transparently for the user. Read more about full disk encryption solutions. Find out why it is especially indispensable when it comes to mobile working.

Without full-disk encryption: mobile devices are a gateway for hackers

Mobile working is part of everyday life in our world today. Mobile devices, especially the laptop, are a popular target for cyberattacks. Potentially more people can use them to access, steal or manipulate data. If you leave an unsecured laptop in a hotel room, anyone can access the stored data. This type of attack is also known as an Evil Maid Attack. An "Evil Maid" does not necessarily have to be a cleaner. Even a resentful colleague or a hotel employee can become a criminal. This includes stealing data, installing a key logger, installing illegal software or even removing the hard drive. The risk also exists when working in the home office, e.g. in case of a break-in.

VS-NfD approved full-disk encryption: R&S®Trusted Disk

VS-NfD approved full-disk encryption: R&S®Trusted Disk

  • Full-disk encryption for endpoints and mobile devices
  • Efficient hard disk encryption: data & complete operating system (including temporary files)
  • Full & hassle free productivity through real-time encryption method
  • Encryption of portable devices like USB flash drives included
  • For classification level VS-NfD
  • Available as single-user or enterprise edition
  • Can be used in corporate networks with mixed environments (Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10)
  • Central management: Reset of PIN remotely with help of central management

Learn more about the product now

Encrypting the hard disk and other security measures

To ensure that mobile working is safe, you should consider various safety measures. Even the operating environment of a laptop, for example, plays an important role. Here are 3 elementary tips for mobile working:

  • Unauthorized persons can easily read confidential content while working in the hotel lobby or on the train. A simple privacy screen can help here.
  • The use of strong passwords should also be a matter of course these days.
  • However, only full-disk encryption offers real protection. This protects sensitive data from unauthorized access, even in case of loss or theft.

Important: The most secure variant of hard disk encryption works with a two-factor authentication, for example with a combination of a smart card and a PIN.

How full-disk encryption works

You can encrypt hard disks either completely or only partially. Encryption encrypts all data on the hard disk. The software then decrypts the data as it is read. On the hard disk, however, the data remains encrypted at all times. Users and applications do not notice the full-disk encryption solution that is in place.

To boot a computer, the operating system must be decrypted. While pre-booting, the system carries out an authentication process for this purpose: This is either password or hardware-based. Authentication releases the key and the data on the hard disk is decrypted and readable during the computer's boot process.

The most common method for full-disk encryption software is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). All common hardware supports this type of encryption. Additionally, it offers a full security level. It is important that both the contents of the files and the file names are encrypted. Only if the file names are encrypted, no conclusions can be drawn about the contents of the file. If the encryption works via a password, this should not be noted anywhere.

Full-disk encryption is a must-have

Encrypting a hard disk enables secure, mobile working and denies attackers access to sensitive data. With many advantages come also disadvantages with a full disk encryption. We show you the most important advantages and disadvantages at a glance.

Benefits of full-disk encryption

The most important advantage of full disk encryption is that unauthorized persons cannot read the hard disk and all stored data without the appropriate key. The Evil Maid attacks mentioned above are useless: By removing the hard disk, booting a stolen computer with external media such as a USB stick, potential attackers can no longer access the stored data.

Another advantage: The encryption of the hard disk runs automatically in the background for the user as well as for applications due to the integration of the encryption in the operating system. The workflow is not affected. Setting up and activating full disk encryption is simple.

If you have further questions, please contact us.

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What is full-disk encryption?

Full-disk encryption (FDE) protects the information stored on a hard disk from unauthorized access. This is done by encrypting selected partitions or the entire hard disk. You can only access the data with an appropriate key. Encryption and decryption is done automatically. The most secure form of full-disk encryption works with a two-factor authentication, for example with a smart card and a PIN.

When do I need full-disk encryption?

If you or your employees work from home or on the road, full-disk encryption is highly recommended. It protects you in case of loss or theft of a device. It prevents sensitive data from falling into unauthorized hands. Depending on the level of secrecy of your data, full disk encryption is recommended or even mandatory.

Does full-disk encryption involve a lot of effort?

No, full-disk encryption runs unnoticed in the background. It encrypts and decrypts the data in an automated process. There is no additional effort and workflows remain the same for you and your employees. However, when choosing a suitable full disk encryption solution, make sure that there is no or only little loss of performance.

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