Data Security on USB Flash Drives is a growing concern. USB Flash Drives, with the size no more than a pack of chewing gums, is always prone to theft or loss.
It is much easier for you to loose a USB or Pen drive than you get your laptop or desktop computer stolen.
Hence the security of data through USB Data Encryption is highly important.
USB Flash Drive Data Encryption
There are many tools available, some are free and some are paid. However, did you know that starting from Windows Vista, Microsoft has added a free data encryption tool within the Operating system. It is known as Bitlocker. In Windows Vista, it was only available for Business and Ultimate editions.
Bitlocker in Windows Vista was able to encrypt only the Hard Disks. But in Windows 7, Microsoft has extended the data encryption facility to USB Flash drives also and rightly so, the encryption utility has been renamed as BitLocker To Go.
BotLocker To Go – The Right Data Protection for USB Pen Drives
BitLocker to Go extends BitLocker data protection to USB storage devices, enabling them to be restricted with a passphrase. In addition to having control over passphrase length and complexity, IT administrators can set a policy that requires users to apply BitLocker protection to removable drives before being able to write to them.
BitLocker To Go gives administrators control over how removable storage devices can be utilized within their environment and the strength of protection that they require. Administrators can require data protection for any removable storage device that users want to write data upon; while still allowing unprotected storage devices to be utilized in a read-only mode. Policies are also available to require appropriate passwords, smart card, or domain user credentials to utilize a protected removable storage device.
BitLocker To Go can be utilized on its own, without requiring that the system partition be protected with the traditional BitLocker feature. Although you will need a premium Windows 7 SKU to enable protection of removable storage devices with BitLocker, any SKU can be utilized to unlock and use a protected device. Finally, BitLocker To Go provides read-only support for removable devices on older versions of Windows allowing you to more securely share files with users who are still running Windows Vista and Windows XP.
How to Use BitLocker To Go
Just right click on the icon of the USB Pen Drive in the Windows Exlorer. You will find an item “Turn On BitLocker…”. Click on it and follow the instructions.
It will encrypt the USB data and protect it with a password of your choice. In case you think that you might forget the password, then you can also create a recovery file. It is always advisable to store that recovery file at a separate location, other the entire purpose of encrypting the data of USB Drive gets defeated.
Here is a nice YouTube video on Bitlocker To Go.
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