16. USB Drive Encryption with BitLocker® Windows 10 Pro

On 25th May 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, issuing hefty monetary fines of up to £500,000 to organizations that fail to adequately protect their user’s data. Penalties will reach an upper limit of 20 million Euros or 4% or annual global turn over – whichever is higher. 

New legislation will require compliance in ISO 27001 information security management, in order to avoid penalties from breaches of personal user data. Businesses risk being  penalized with insolvency or complete closure if found in violation, and best time to prepare is now!

Encrypting employee data on USB and external hard drives represents the first step your organization’s IT team can implement, to ensure compliance to the Data Protection Act. 

Running from a home lab environment, you may not want to encrypt your main native OS if your’re running VMware virtual machines with Windows 10 Pro. Lets take a closer look;

20. Launch VMware workstation 12 and boot up Windows 10 Pro virtual machine. 

21. Insert the USB or external HDD into the host machine and get a prompt of external devices available to mount on this virtual machine. Click on VM > Removable Devices > Mass Storage > Connect ( Disconnect from Host )

22. Open File Explorer and locate the new removable device now in view. Right Click on the volume and Select Properties. You can now select Turn On BitLocker from the menu. 

23. BitLocker will now initialize the drive. You may cancel the operation at this point but never remove the drive until its complete and safe to prevent data corruption. 

24. Next step is to enter your secure password required to unlock the drive. The smart card PIN option is also available. Remember to save a recovery key on your system. 

25. Drive encryption will now begin after selecting whether to encrypt the entire disk or sections with data. Its worth noting this process can be paused and resumed at a later time. Removing the drive safely ensures data isn’t corrupt. The encryption process continues automatically when the external drive is re-inserted. 

We hope you enjoyed learning the set up process for encrypting USB and external HDD removable drives in Windows 10 using BitLocker®. Try your hands on encrypting USB sticks and test out to see the results.

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