Full Disk Encryption vs. Volume Encryption - 5 Key Reasons

1 Sep 2020 | Jetico Technical Support

An executive's worst nightmare... having their laptop lost or stolen. While canceling a credit card might be a hassle, having your company data exposed can be disastrous to both your business and your career.

Data breaches can be avoided by using encryption. Even if your PC is lost or stolen, nobody can access sensitive information when the computer is encrypted.

There are 2 types of encryption you can use to protect all of the data on your hard drive: full disk encryption and volume encryption. Now we’ll explain the differences and look at 5 key reasons why volume encryption could be the better choice. 

Full Disk Encryption vs. Volume Encryption

The main difference between disk and volume encryption is the nature of what they protect:

  • Disk encryption protects the entire drive.
  • Volume encryption targets a section of the physical drive which is defined as a separate partition or 'volume'. If a single volume occupies the entire hard drive, then volume encryption will function the same way as disk encryption.

An easy way to illustrate the difference between these 2 encryption methods is with an analogy. Think about protecting your home. You can either…

  • Lock only the main door of the house (disk encryption).
  • Lock all the doors, including each room (volume encryption). If a single room occupies an entire home – like a loft or studio apartment, then protecting the room will function in the same way as the house.
A cross-section of house

Reasons to Rely on Volume Encryption

With a basic understanding of disk and volume encryption, consider these 5 reasons why volume encryption could be the better way to protect data stored on your computer.

#1 Protection Against Virtual Threats

One physical drive can hold many volumes. When data in a specific volume is not being used, that volume can be dismounted (inaccessible). This can significantly reduce the risk of virtual threats. Using basic disk encryption, however, leaves all data exposed when your computer is active.

#2 More Rigorous Security

Each encrypted volume has unique encryption keys and passwords. By comparison, disk encryption uses only one encryption key and password. If that one key or password is exposed, all of the data on the physical drive is at risk of breach or theft.

#3 Increased Flexibility

Volume encryption offers you the choice to encrypt different volumes, whereas with disk encryption you can only encrypt everything. So then volume encryption can help save time and provide greater flexibility. 

Let’s say you’re troubleshooting OS issues and decide to remove encryption from your system volumes. With volume encryption, your non-system volumes will remain encrypted and secure. Yet if you were using disk encryption, removing encryption from large drives (system and non-system) would not only be time consuming, but would also suddenly expose all of your data. 

#4 Convenience

Another advantage of volume encryption is that it offers greater flexibility due to its natural compatibility with RAID. Mirrored and RAID-5 volumes can more reliably store and protect sensitive data, as well as offering a more friendly user experience.

#5 Performance

Compared to disk encryption, volume encryption is built to work on striped and RAID-5 volumes. When working with these volumes, you will generally notice a lighter performance impact. Lastly, volume encryption is especially useful when multiple users need access to different files on a single computer. By using volume encryption, you’re only given access to the stored data that you need. Yet if you were using disk encryption, you would be presented with all kinds of extra files that you are not authorized to access and don’t need to see. 

Jetico's BestCrypt Volume Encryption

BestCrypt Volume Encryption protects all the data on your hard drives if lost or stolen. With Pre-Boot Authentication, volume encryption will load prior to starting your operating system.

With Pre-Boot Authentication, volume encryption will activate prior to loading your operating system. 

This feature means that nobody will be able to gain access to any of the data on your computer or hard drive unless they have the right password or keys.

Try BestCrypt Volume Encryption for free here: https://www.jetico.com/downloads#187


Related Articles

How to Encrypt Data on External Hard Drives (Windows 10 & Mac)
Commercial or Open-Source Encryption Software – Whose Side Are You On?
Native-OS, Add-On, or Independent Encryption - Which is Best for Your Business?

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