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In cybersecurity, the term encryption refers to the process of locking and scrambling data so that it is only accessible to authorized parties. This is usually done with encryption software.
But what are the best encryption software solutions to protect your sensitive information? Here are our top 5 picks.
Developed by Nord, the same company that powers the popular VPN service, NordLocker is a great option for businesses and individuals as it can store sensitive files both locally and in the cloud.
All data in NordLocker is end-to-end encrypted. This offers a pretty strong layer of security, not least because Nord uses the strongest encryption protocols in the world: AES-256, Ed25519, and xChaCha20. But more importantly, NordLocker uses a zero-knowledge security architecture. This ensures that nobody, not even NordLocker, can access your files without your express permission.
The process of encrypting documents sounds complicated to the average person, but Nord has made it effortless with its drag-and-drop feature. If you want to encrypt a file or folder, just drag it into the NordLocker app and you’re done. It’s also easy to organize files, sync them across devices, and so on.
Are there any downsides to using NordLocker? If you use the free version, you can encrypt up to 3 GB of files. For everything else you have to reach into your wallet.
AxCrypt is another excellent encryption tool that can be used by both organizations and individuals. It’s lightweight and fairly minimalistic, so even people who aren’t too tech-savvy should be able to use it with little to no issues.
AxCrypt uses AES-256 encryption exclusively, but that’s not a problem as this is a military-grade protocol that keeps all sensitive data secure. The software has a cloud storage service, works on computers and mobile devices, and has a handy key sharing feature.
The differences between the two plans AxCrypt offers, Business and Premium, are significant. With the Business plan, you get a master key and your own dedicated account manager, which certainly makes it easier for businesses to handle the technical side of things.
Overall, AxCrypt is cheaper than NordLocker and many other similar services, but there’s no real free version. The one offered by the company can only be used to decrypt existing files, and not much else. However, it should be noted that there is a free trial option.
3. folder lock
Folder Lock is quite a unique program, at least as far as encryption software goes. It’s not subscription-based: you buy it once and you can use it indefinitely.
Folder Lock uses AES-256 for encryption, so it is not inferior to other similar products in this respect. However, you cannot back up your data in the cloud with this software – this is an additional service that is subject to a fee.
Pricing isn’t the only thing that sets Folder Lock apart from the competition. It actually has a bunch of cool features that other similar tools lack. For example, it has a digital wallet (for securing your banking details) and a file shredder, which is great when you need to make sure there’s no way to recover a file you don’t want others to access.
What might be confusing for some people is that Folder Lock can both lock and encrypt files and folders. In other words, a locked folder is not necessarily encrypted, so always make sure you actually create encrypted lockers instead of just locking files with a password.
Steganos Data Safe is another budget-friendly option. With purchase, you renew the license annually and can use it on up to five devices. There is also a 30-day free trial to test the product.
But how does it actually perform when it comes to encryption? Steganos Data Safe uses the 384-bit AES-XEX encryption protocol and behaves like a separate drive. You can drag and drop files and folders, create backups and different types of safes (they can store up to 2TB of data). These include cloud safes, portable safes, and so on. Obviously these are protected by encryption.
Steganos Data Safe supports data encryption in several popular cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. It also uses two-factor authentication and has a feature that allows users to set emergency passwords. So if you ever need to access something from a safe but for some reason you can’t, thanks to this feature you can authorize a third party to do it for you.
The unusual interface might take some getting used to, but all in all Steganos Data Safe seems to be solid, reliable and secure encryption software.
As the name suggests, Advanced Encryption Package is intended for experts. Of course, nothing will stop a newbie from using the software, but the outdated user interface would probably stop many people. It’s very minimalistic and vintage – Windows 95 style.
But if you can ignore that or just like old-fashioned looking software, you’ll probably enjoy using the Advanced Encryption Package. The program uses 20 different encryption algorithms including AES, Blowfish and Twofish – just select one from the drop-down menu if you want to encrypt a file and the tool will do the rest by itself.
Advanced Encryption Package is very lightweight and easily integrates into Windows system. Also, it allows storing encryption keys on USB drives, has a command line utility, password quality indicator, and allows you to easily share encrypted files with other people.
If you are unsure whether this program is for you or not, there is a 30-day free trial available. And if you like it, you can purchase it for a one-time fee.
Increase your security with encryption software
Encryption makes a huge difference when it comes to cybersecurity. This is the best possible way to protect your data from theft, malware attacks and other cyber threats.
And if you don’t have the budget for encryption software to secure all your devices, consider protecting the data stored on your computer’s hard drive first – it’s free.
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