One of the most prevalent fears of a modern computer users is the idea that personal information and data can be breached and stolen by others. Of course the dangers of this occurring include potential identity fraud and a whole host of security breaches. As such, it is imperative for individuals and businesses to best ensure that all information stored on their computers and centralized systems remain safe from such threats.

Perhaps the most well known and most secure way to protect data is through digital encryption; a solution that halts potential data thieves in their tracks. The process of encryption is to make files and data unreadable by scrambling it; the files can only be properly accessed and read by those who have access to a correct password.

However, expectations for encryption devices and software have not always been on the same level as the product requirement and consumers have often felt let down by what they have purchased. The main reasons for this can be attributed to deterrents such as encryption causing a loss of system performance, a lack of interoperability, the complexity of the management system and, perhaps most importantly, the cost. Hopefully these issues will soon become a thing of the past as technological developments are making encryption systems easier to use and more affordable.

Due to high profile hacking cases and security failures, specifically those with in the public sector, the demand for operable, effective and usable software is at a high. Yet, due to the issues mention previously, there have been a number of reasons that have prevented encryption technology being widely adopted. It should be noted, however, that encryption developers have set about remedying the problems previously associated with the technology.

To combat issues of lack of usability, encryption developers have worked on evolving technology that can operate below a computers operating system. This is done through hardware encryption drives which, by their very nature, can be fitted as either part of a new system or installed retrospectively. Due to the level at which they work, under the application level of a computers system, the encryption devices have little to no impact on a computer’s system performance. Also, because the encryption comes as a piece of hardware, there is no need to fret over any type of license agreement and no maintenance or programme updates needed. Upon installation the hard drive will automatically encrypt all data on a hard drive, computer or other IT equipment.

Hardware encryption also provides the best security options as, unlike a software solution, it does not rely on the operating system for storage of passwords. Similarly software alternatives also rely on the operating system for generation of and storage of keys; hardware encryption proves much more secure as they can store the key tamper-proof cases within the drive itself. In turn this removes much of the complexities of key management and ensures the best possible security options.

On the cost front it may seem that hardware encryption solutions are extravagantly more expensive than software alternatives. However, despite the initial cost, hardware may prove cheaper in the long run. Hardware encryption devices would require only a one off fee whereas software can quickly accumulate extra costs. On top of software maintenance, including updates, upgrades and annual licence fees, software may also require user training, tech support costs and server infrastructure requirements.

 



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