Good question, Tech Tipper Tom! Do you need to encrypt my legal nurse consulting business data to keep it away from prying eyes? My answer is “That depends.” If you’re using a desktop system for your legal nurse consulting business and there’s no one around but your immediate family, and if you believe you can trust them, there is no reason to encrypt the hard drive on your PC. But, if you share a desktop with your spouse and children and they have a habit of getting malware infestations, you may want to encrypt the data. If you’re a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant who uses a laptop computer only and who keeps the data on the local drive of that computer (versus on an external hard drive or server in your office) and who also travels with that computer or shares it – you may want to encrypt your data. The way I see it, even paranoids have real enemies, so if you feel you have the need to encrypt your data, you should. If you’re like me and are rolling your eyes at the thought, you don’t.
As a CLNC® consultant who chooses to keep your information from the eyes of Internet villains and you’re running the “ultimate versions” of Windows® Vista or Windows 7, you can use Microsoft’s BitLocker to encrypt your data. Those legal nurse consultants running XP or older versions can use a program such as TrueCrypt, a free download, to encrypt your drive or a portion thereof.
No matter what program or method you use to encrypt your data, you’ll need to keep your password or encryption key in a safe, easy-to-get-to place in order to access your files. Otherwise, you’ll be just like any other hacker trying to get to them and, if you used a strong password or effective key, you may never be able to “crack it.” If you go the encryption route, take measures to protect your password/key.
If you’re not up for learning to use an encryption program, the next best thing is to toughen up your password to the point that even you have trouble remembering it. You could try setting a BIOS password but any proper villain with access to your motherboard can reset the BIOS and bypass that security measure. In my recommendation, strong passwords are the best defense.