Encryption for Sensitive Documents

What is Encryption?

Encrypting is simply the process of converting a human-readable document into a non-human readable file. Strong encryption ensures that the file is protected by a password, and no computer (or “hacker”) can read (decrypt) that document without the password.
The most common example of encryption that we all see, is password protected PDFs. You may have received Mobile Bills or Bank Statements in password protected PDFs. The biller usually sends you a password separately to be able to view the PDF.

Why use Encryption?

Many of our documents are confidential. These might be the CEO’s HR File, Company Shareholder Agreements, or even a Word document listing your various passwords. We often use shared computers and even share email accounts at times. We often copy lots of people on emails. What if we inadvertently allow an unscrupulous employee access to a document that is confidential? What if we have shared our password with an employee who leaves the company in bad faith?
The answer is that all highly sensitive documents should be encrypted, with a separate password that should not be shared with anyone who does not need it.

Storing Encrypted files on a Document Management System like EisenVault

You can upload an encrypted file to most modern document management systems and file sharing services. EisenVault, Dropbox, Google Drive will all accept encrypted documents. All you need to do is encrypt documents in Windows and upload the encrypted document. This way no employee of the above companies will be able to open your document, and no spies or hackers will be able to open your document either.
This does limit the functionality provided by the DMS. For example a full text keyword search will not return the encrypted document in search results. But that is a small price to pay for the added peace of mind.

How to Encrypt documents?

There are a number of free and paid tools available on the internet. Most of these let you specify which file to encrypt, specify a password and then produce an encrypted version of the file.
Please see this list for some top rated Encryption tools that you may want to try. EisenVault has not tested these tools and does not endorse them in any way.
If you try the above tools, do leave feedback on this blog post for the benefit of other readers.