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  • Encryption can protect data from unwanted eyes. It can provide effective data security, but most of the users are not aware of it.

    Encryption can be defined as “the translation of data into a secret code”. It is the best way to achieve data security. To access or read data from an encrypted file, you must have the secret key or, in simple words, a password that will help you in file decryption. For the security algorithms, unencrypted data is known as plain text, while the encrypted data is known as ciphertext.

    Data in encrypted files are stored as complex code that would be hard to break within a reasonable amount of time. Hence, encryption is considered as one of the best methods to protect personal or business data. For any corporate, including health, finance, or legal data, security is extremely important.

    Leaving unencrypted data either on cloud storage like Google Drive, DropBox, or OneDrive or on your personal computer is just like leaving your doors unlocked. Once attackers came to know that your data is unencrypted, it becomes easy to target them.

    While uploading your data in a cloud or storing it on a system, you should try to protect it through encryption. This applies to personal and organization, both.

    Encryption Advantages

    Data encryption technologies are widely available that is implemented through several cryptography algorithms. There are several advantages.

    Data Integrity – Increase the data protection and integrity of the information. However, alone encryption cannot provide integrity, but by protecting imperative data, it can save data from a hacker that can be used by the businesses in making business decisions.

    Privacy Safeguard – Data on a phone or computer or in the cloud can possess sensitive information. Hackers can access and use your personal details from your device and use it in an unauthorized manner where data encryption can be proved as a privacy safeguard for your data.

    Increase Trust – Many businesses may not require data safety, but in order to show their client how much they are serious about their customer safety, they use encryption. The use of data encryption can increase a customer’s trust as they will come to know how serious you take data privacy.

    Work Remotely – Many companies prefer remote employees. The employees are expected to use encrypted devices. However, in the case of remote work, the risk of a data breach is quite high. Data encryption can make sure that information is completely secure.

    Next, let’s explore some of the best encryption software available for Windows and macOS.

    Encrypto

    With AES-256 encryption, Encrypto makes sharing files a lot secure. Just drop your files or folders into it, set a password, and you’re ready to send it to friends or coworkers without having to worry about security.

    Since the people you’ll be sending the files to will be known to you, you can set a password hint as well. This makes sure the recipient can only know about the hint, and there’s no way some other person can unlock it.

    Encrypto is available for Mac and Windows.

    NordLocker

    From the tech company behind NordVPN and NordPass, NordLocker is another product of theirs that’s as impressive as the other ones. You can get started with 2GB free encryption to your files, such as:

    • Photos
    • Videos
    • Personal notes
    • ID & passwords
    • Finance documents
    • Any secret files

    Most of these are meant to be kept private at all costs, and by encrypting it via NordLocker, you’re preventing it from being exploited in many ways. You can also choose to encrypt your files before uploading it on cloud storage sites; just to be extra-precautious, nobody can access them.

    This solution uses Argon2, AES256, ECC (with XChaCha20, EdDSA, and Poly1305), which are the most advanced ciphers and principles. You can be assured your files are kept at the highest level of security.

    As stated above, you get 2GB file encryption and 24/7 support for free. If you’d like unlimited encryption, then you can opt for the premium plan for just $1/month.

    Boxcryptor

    Another impressive software to encrypt your files, Boxcryptor uses leading end-to-end encryption for more than 30 different cloud providers. The looks of it are not one of the friendliest ones, but it’s quite approachable and easy to use.

    Upon installing the tool, it’ll automatically look for cloud storage folders present on your system and add them as locations. Once that’s done, you don’t have to do much. Just drag and drop files or folders into the correct locations, and it’ll be encrypted on its own.

    Apart from sharing via cloud storage providers, you can also share files directly to another Boxcryptor user. It is free for personal use as long as you’re using one cloud storage provider. In order to use more than that and access more features, you can simply upgrade starting at $48/year.

    Tresorit

    Trusted by over 10,000 organizations, Tresorit works on almost all devices. No matter, if you’re at home, on the road, or at your office, sharing files securely, should always be the priority, and this solution makes it quite possible.

    Moreover, it’s important to note that Tresorit is a Swiss company, and Switzerland is known for its policy of neutrality and strong data protection laws. There’s no way your files will get decrypted on their servers, especially because it uses AES—256 keys.

    You can get started on their free trial and take it ahead from there.

    Cryptomator

    Cryptomator is completely open-source and works with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It uses a technology called “Transparent Encryption”, which basically means you’d hardly notice any difference in working with your files. It creates a virtual hard drive for all your files residing in your cloud storage and encrypts them for safe access.

    The great thing is, you don’t need to learn any complex workflows or functions to make this work. Cryptomator is designed in a way that allows you to encrypt and access your files as same as you would do without it.

    Since this software is open-source, you can choose to pay any amount you want to download it. In fact, you can download it for free as well. However, it’s always a good practice to try and support the creators, which I highly recommend.

    AxCrypt

    Been PCMag’s editors’ choice for five consecutive years, AxCrypt delivers some advanced features in a simple layout. You can collaborate with your team members and allow them to open your encrypted files with certain passwords. All files that go through AxCrypt are secured with 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption.

    Other than that, you can:

    • Auto-secure cloud storage files
    • Manage and access passwords wherever you are
    • Open encrypted files on your mobile device
    • Switch language to Turkish, Korean, Russian and several others

    You can download and start using their free plan right away or opt for a premium one starting at $34/year.

    Folder Lock

    With over 56K downloads, Folder Lock allows you to encrypt data and folders to be shared later securely. It has won several awards and been rated highly on platforms like CNET and Softonic. In addition to the traditional features you see on encryption software, Folder Lock allows you to:

    • Password protect USB/external drives
    • Shred or permanently delete files
    • Clear Windows history
    • Enable stealth mode
    • Store payment information safely
    • Backup encrypted files on a secure cloud server

    It’s available in several different languages, and you can download it for free to try out the basic features.

    Hat.sh

    A very simple and free tool to encrypt/decrypt your files, Hat.sh can be a quick solution for people that don’t want to download any software. All you do is, visit their website, upload your file and then add a decryption key to generate your newly encrypted file. You can then hit the download button and save it to your system.

    Just because it’s simple and free, it doesn’t mean it’s not secure. In fact, it’s secured with the AES-256-GCM algorithm. And the good thing is, none of your files are saved on their server. It’s all wiped out the moment you exit the website.

    All in all, I like this tool and would any day recommend it, especially for those who’re on the rush. 😉

    Conclusion

    There should be no compromise when it comes to data security. Be sure to use any of the above tools to protect your files and hopefully avoid becoming a victim of data manipulation.