Data protection is the process of safeguarding important information from compromise, corruption, or loss. In the digital world, data protection is more important than ever before.
Importance of Protecting Files or Folders in Windows 10/11
Protecting files or folders is of utmost importance, considering today’s dynamic digital era. Our all-electronic devices are connected to the internet, so all our data is always at risk of getting exposed by an unauthorized threat actor.
As per Statista, In the USA alone, in 2022, 422 million individuals were affected by data breaches of sensitive data through authorized access. In the first quarter of 2023, the violation of data records stands at an astonishing more than 6 million worldwide.
Let’s see some reasons why it is important to protect files and folders:
Unauthorized users can steal sensitive data, like financial and personal information, along with trade secrets, which can be misused for identity theft, fraud, or malicious activities.
Unauthorized users could corrupt or delete sensitive data leading to financial loss, disruption in business, legal consequences, and harm to a company’s reputation.
Unauthorized users can disrupt access to sensitive data by overloading or crashing the system, affecting business operations.
Sensitive folders being accessed without authorization could lead to cyberattacks against companies, resulting in data theft, system damage, operational disruptions, and individual ransom demand.
To comply with regulations, financial institutions and Healthcare organizations need to safeguard specific data types.
Protecting files with intellectual property (IP) safeguards business investments in patents, trademarks, and copyrights, securing the rights to valuable creations.
The protection of files and folders is related to companies of all sizes and individuals’ personal computers.
Windows 10/11 Inbuilt Features to Protect Folders and Files
Microsoft ensures the security of files and folders on Windows 10 and 11 by offering built-in features and tools that effectively protect data from hackers or misuse.
Let’s see some of the inbuilt security features in Windows 10 and 11:
File encryption: Windows includes a built-in encryption feature that enhances the security of files and folders. This functionality ensures that unauthorized users face significant challenges in accessing files, even if they possess physical computer access.
Controlled folder access is a security feature in Windows 10 and 11 that protects important files by preventing unauthorized apps from making changes to protected folders. It safeguards and effectively blocks ransomware attacks, ensuring the integrity and preventing data from being modified or misused by an unauthorized party.
User permissions determine the access levels granted to individuals or user groups for files and folders. These permissions define whether users can read, write, or modify the content.
File history: Automatically save copies to an external drive or network, protecting against ransomware and data loss and restoring deleted/corrupted files from the enabled backup.
BitLocker, a security feature available on Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems, offers robust encryption for your entire hard drive. This encryption shields your data from unauthorized access.
How to Protect Files and Folders in Windows 10 and 11?
As discussed above, various methods exist to protect your files and folder on Windows computers.
In this section, we will see the step-by-step method to protect files and folders in Windows 11 using its built-in password protection method.
This method is called “Encrypt contents to secure data.” Encrypting a file or folder using this method converts it into a format that cannot be read without a password.
For example, the system automatically asks for passwords for any unauthorized threat accessing your file or folder. If your system has multiple logins, another person can’t access it, as it will ask for a password.
Only the person who encrypted the file or folder can access it.
To encrypt a file or folder using the built-in password protection method, follow these steps:
Step 1: Open Windows File Explorer on your Windows 11 laptop or desktop.
Step 2: Select and Right-click the file or folder you want to secure with password protection.
Step 3: After right-clicking it, you will see an option called Properties, as shown below; click on it.
Step 4: Under the General tab, navigate to the Attributes section and click on the Advanced tab, as shown below:
Step 5: After this, Select Encrypt contents to secure the data option from Compress and Encrypt attributes section.
Step 6: Click OK and select Apply changes to this folder, subfolders, and files > OK. Then, click on Apply.
After completing these steps, Windows 11 places a lock icon on the folder to show it’s encrypted. Anyone who wants to open the files in that folder must be logged in under your user account.
The built-in password protection method is a simple and effective way to protect files and folders in Windows 10 and 11.
If you are looking for other more secure methods to protect files, folder, and drive, then you can try Window’s inbuilt Bitlocker method.
Windows operating system is one of the most widely used operating systems globally, with 74 percent market share worldwide as of January 2023, so hackers or data theft predominantly occurs on these systems.
So, protecting your files and folders becomes of utmost importance. The above-mentioned data protection methods for your files and folders will help safeguard your personal and organizational data.
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