Recently had a financial planning firm contact me with their new compliance regulations which included full disk encryption on all workstations that accessed client data and on all thumb drives used. This led me on a search to find the best solution for their systems which boiled down to essentially two solutions – Bitlocker or TrueCrypt / VeraCrypt.
Full Disk Encryption w/ Bitlocker
This feature is built into the professional versions of Windows OS from version 7 and beyond. It is simple to use and can be implemented from the Properties on local drives. It works with the modern GUID partition table (GPT) and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) as well as the older MBR / BIOS model. It works best with a Trusted Platform Module chip but can also be setup to use an external USB device as the encryption key repository. There is also a “Bitlocker To Go” setup for thumb drives that will work easily on other Windows based devices.
Full Disk Encryption w/ TrueCrypt
TrueCrypt, and the more recent “fork” of the software VeraCrypt, are based on the same open source code and are compatible with all recent versions of Windows OS. These software packages are not for the faint of heart as they require following detailed instructions on their usage through a multi-stage process to perform the drive encryption. My testing has revealed that they do not work well with modern GPT or UEFI and instead the Master Boot Record (MBR) and Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) systems would have to have been implemented from the initial setup of the workstation to function properly. There is currently no support for TPM, so remember your password or else say goodbye to your data. There is the ability to create a portable drive via these software packages, but the process is not something an end-user could easily do themselves.
Based on the limitations of TrueCrypt and the steep learning curve. It will be my recommendation to use the more simple and up-to-date Bitlocker technology to protect their firm – even if the encryption algorithms available in the other software provide deeper security. If your company is going to use full disk encryption or has compliance requirements that you need consulting for, then contact us for assistance.