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Encryption can’t protect your data while you’re logged in

You carry a lot of data and sensitive information on your laptop, tablet, and smartphone. The standard method of protecting that information from prying eyes is to encrypt it, rendering the data inaccessible. But with most encryption software, that information becomes accessible the moment you log in to the device as a matter of convenience.

Think about what information that might be: names, postal and email addresses, and phone numbers for friends, family, clients, and business associates; calendar events indicating where you’ll be and when you’ll be there; personal photographs; and more. You might also have proprietary information about your company, clients, information that companies have entrusted you under the terms of non-disclosure agreements, and other sensitive information that should be secured.

Encrypting data protects it from unauthorized access.

Encryption basically scrambles the data so it’s nothing but unusable gibberish to anyone who isn’t authorized to access or view it.

And that’s great, but ask yourself this: How many steps must you go through to decrypt your data? Encryption is designed to protect data, but it should also be seamlessly accessible to the user—it should automatically decrypt, so you don’t have to jump through hoops to use your own encrypted data. And that means it’s not protected at all if someone finds your laptop, smartphone, or tablet in a state that doesn’t require a log-in password.

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