The hidden costs behind free encryption

Data protection is more important than ever. Risk of data breach is real, and the consequences are costly. Many will seek a quick and free encryption solution. But is it really free?

Encryption Technology provides both a line of defence in the case of an attack and protection of information in the event of a breach or accidental disclosure.

Many have welcomed Microsoft’s encryption technology, BitLocker into Microsoft Windows operated devices.

However, as many people are finding out with BitLocker, “free” solutions are rarely ever free. Although BitLocker provides encryption, it has a some obvious and in some cases serious shortcomings, including: the lack of encryption support for non-Windows environments, it is difficult to deploy and manage in enterprise environments, it is difficult to meet compliance requirements and it interferes with end user productivity.

Furthermore, BitLocker only supports Windows operating systems post-Vista. Many large organizations operate a hybrid IT landscape and limited budgets will require additional software to secure their data.

The pitfalls in Microsoft Bitlocker’s ‘free encryption’

BitLocker only encrypts data on SkyDrive, not Box or DropBox.

Organizations embracing ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) will be forced to find alternate solutions for encryption of data on Android and iOS devices, tablets, SD cards, self-encrypting drives, removable media and optical drives.

Lack of coverage for a myriad of endpoints also makes it more difficult to deploy and manage encryption of data.

BitLocker does not support large-scale deployment of policies across multiple devices or groups of end users categorized by department, function or role. To have BitLocker deployed and managed centrally, Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) is required. To use MBAM, enterprises need to purchase licenses.

If you are thinking of settling with Bitlocker, here are some key questions to consider…

  • Do you have operating systems other than Windows, i.e., Mac OS, iOS or Android devices that need to be protected?
  • What’s your process for lost passwords?
  • Do you need to secure removable media or self-encrypting drives?
  • Do you need a centralised view of all endpoint security?
  • Do you have to meet compliance regulations, i.e., FIPS, HIPAA?
  • Do you need to prove protection?
  • Have you already purchased MDOP?
  • Do all of your machines have TPM 1.2 chips in them?

BitLocker initially appears to be a viable and inexpensive solution. However as highlighted, BitLocker could cause end user disruption and interference with existing IT processes.

MFG’s Managed Encryption solutions support a varied and evolving IT landscape, makes management and deployment easy in enterprise environments, helps meet and prove compliance for industry regulations, does not require end user intervention.

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