You guys may be aware that their software out there that allows you to encrypt your entire hard drive on the fly. So that you don’t have to worry about it getting stolen and people being able to access your hard drive. But it’s still pretty much behaves like a normal hard drive. Some of these include BitLocker for Windows, TrueCrypt, and Veracrypt. Now while these are really secure. In their great idea to have. The one downside is that they have a toll on performance. Because the CPU and the computer have to do the encryption and decryption to the hard drive. And do all that processing before it writes the data. However there is an alternative to you might not have known about and that is hardware encryption drives. Sometimes called self-encrypting drives (SED).
Advantages Of Hardware Encryption Drives
These can be either hard drives or solid state drives they do the encryption and decryption automatically at the hardware level. It has nothing to do with the operating system. Which has a great advantage. Because then you don’t have any performance taken away from the computer. The hard drives handle all the processing for the encryption.
In these drives are typically going to have two main components the storage obviously we’re going to put the data. And the hardware encrypter, which is part of the drive system. And that is what handles all the encryption not to drive as I mentioned. And as a matter of fact when you put this drive-in after you boot up through the BIOS or whatever. The operating system basically sees the hard drive as a regular hard drive. It doesn’t have to handle anything.
It just says I want to write this data. And then the hard drive itself converts it and encrypts it and write to the drive, and when operating system once it back it decrypt it and sends it to the operating system. So you have no issues with performance being taken away from the computer. It’s all done on the hard drive.
Hardware Encryption Drives Are More Secure
As I mentioned hardware encryption drives are available as both SSDs, hard drives, even thumb drives have these. And the idea is that when you boot up the computer. Before you launch any operating system or anything. You’re gonna have to type in the authentication password, that unlocks the drive. So you can do anything that’s on it.
So it can be for example like a BIOS password it’s tightening BIOS that sort of thing. And then even if someone tries to steal the hard drive out of the computer went off. They’re never going to be able to use any other data or look at it at all. Because the encrypted it just looks like a bunch of garbage.
So once you boot into the drive and watch the operating system, all the data is going to be accessible like it was a normal hard drive.
Use Operating System Password Besides Hardware Encryption Drives
That’s also why it’s important to have an operating system password like on windows and lock your computer, especially like if it’s on a laptop. Because if someone steals the laptop while the computers on and you don’t have a password then they can just log in your account. And copy all the files over. And The encryption doesn’t help you at all.
But if you do have a password on Windows then they might try to log in. They obviously won’t be able to get into it or access any of the files while its unencrypted state. But if they try to take out the drive thinking they can just bypass Windows. Then they won’t be able to access any of the data on encrypted.
So to be clear, the data isn’t all encrypted or unencrypted when you turn the computer on and off. It’s literally done on the fly and piece-by-piece. So that way even if the power fails then all the data on the drive is still encrypted. Typically you’re gonna see these self-encrypting drives (SED) or Hardware Encryption Drives on higher-end like business laptops workstations and that sort of thing.
And even if it is marketed as a workstation or business laptop you still want to check to see if it does have this feature. And even if it does you wanna make sure you enable it otherwise it’d be kind of a waste of money. And you can actually buy these separately these drives and put it into whatever computer. I would say it’s really beneficial for a laptop especially.
Down Side Of Hardware Encryption Drives
So I definitely recommend if you’re gonna get it for anything better for a laptop. Because then you’re getting the best protection with no performance decrease. The only downside to these drives as you’d expect they do cost more money typically.
They might be marketed as enterprise drives. Although some Samsung consumer drives do have this feature. And you might not be as expensive as you think.
I’m interested to hear what you guys think down in the comments section. Or if you found it some helpful be sure to share this article.