Windows 7 to have portable drive encryption

The first reports are coming in from users who have been testing Microsoft’s latest operating system “Windows 7” under its beta programme over the past couple of days. One feature of interest is that, as well as encryption of fixed hard drives (found also in Windows Vista), there is a new “Bitlocker-To-Go” application which will allow encryption of removable drives which can then only be accessed with a password or smart card.

Many prominent stories in the news about data breaches feature loss, theft or mishandling of unencrypted USB memory sticks or portable media. If organisations migrate to Windows 7 in the future and enable this feature by default, could this mean the end for breaches involving unencrypted data?

How effective the encryption software is in day-to-day use remains to be seen. There are many other security and data encryption solutions already on the market which have similar functions, yet the amount of unencrypted data which is lost is unacceptably high (see post entitled “Data Breaches on the up in the U.S.”). However, including encryption software with Windows as standard surely must be a step in the right direction.

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