Recently I have talked with some scared startups.
Scenario #1: Startup has its data on a flash drive and loses the flash drive.
Scenario #2: Person has startup’s data on a laptop and the laptop is stolen.
The common theme to both scenarios is that they had unencrypted intellectual property on the drives, thus the intellectual property (possibly customer lists, market research, detailed business plans, product details, etc.) was accessible to anyone with access to the drives. Will someone who finds the flash drive discover and use the data? Was the laptop thief looking for source code or a laptop to sell? Who knows but each business’ intellectual property is at risk.
By encrypting the data, the startups could have essentially removed the possibility that a third party could access their data. There are umpteen encryption programs available, but I’ll mention True Crypt (http://www.truecrypt.org) as one of them. True Crypt supports full disk encryption, partial disk encryption, and portable drive use. There are multiple encryption algorithms from which the user may select. After the data is encrypted, passwords are required to access the data. It provides strong encryption and is simple to use.
The bottom line: Don’t let an easily avoidable scenario place your business’ intellectual property at risk. Protect your data!