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Disk Encryption vs. File Encryption vs. Active Cypher Cloud Fortress

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Money or scalability keeping businesses of all sizes from adopting individual file encryption. Leaving their files exposed and vulnerable to internal and external leaks through antiquated technology, big names in retail, hospitality, tech, and entertainment have dominated the cybersecurity news for nearly a decade. We haven’t liked seeing this, so we did something about it. Active Cypher has built an enterprise-class individual file encryption solution at a low cost and easy user experience.

So, what’s out there already?

Full disk encryption (also known as full volume encryption), works by encrypting a system’s entire hard drive – Bitlocker has been the standard of full disk encryption for more than a decade. All the confidential data stored on it, but also the operating system and all applications. When the system is started, the user is prompted for the encryption key, which enables the system to decrypt enough to boot and run normally.

It operates at a lower level than encrypting individual files, using passphrases, PINs, devices, or other authentication to give access, something each individual has in hand, memorized, or, unfortunately, taped to the bottom of their keyboard. That sounds secure enough for most, but BitLocker only protects the file within the physical disk, but once the disk is decrypted and a file is sent outside that drive, there is nothing to prevent unauthorized users from reading the confidential data in the file.

It only takes one – a disgruntled employee, someone falling for a phishing scheme, or a burglar physically stealing the actual disk – for the information to be out there. The cloud won’t keep you safe either – it just means the disks are in another location, a data center somewhere else.

What’s the alternative?

Typical file encryption puts the onus on the end-user. It takes a lot of trust in each employee to meeting a company’s policies on determining which files get seen by who. While they still use passphrases, PINs, or easily compromised keys, it’s just as easy to send a low-level employee the annual budget by mistake. Between email, mobile phones, laptops, internal devices, collaboration software, and thumb drives, the wrong data can be opened by the wrong person and released out into the world. Universal adoption of consistent permissions in a growing organization gets increasingly more complex and harder to enforce.

And what does Active Cypher do about it?

95% of Fortune 1000 companies are running either Active Directory locally or in Microsoft Azure. Active Directory is so widely used it is de-facto for small, medium, and large business networks, not just enterprises. Active Cypher Cloud Fortress is deployed seamlessly within Active Directory, the most widely used network worldwide, making us the easiest to use, enterprise-class file encryption solution for businesses of all sizes.

Active Cypher File Fortress considers every file on shared networked folders as confidential and encrypts each one, in every folder, on your servers. We don’t use arbitrary templates, vague company policies, or guesswork to determine what needs to be protected. Easily categorize employees using Active Directory – individual users no longer have to decide who gets to see what. It’s as simple as retaining the Access Control List entries for each file, no matter where the file ends up. If someone in Sales gets an Accounting file, the ability to decrypt it will be denied.

Companies, and even departments, use a variety of services to share files – Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft SharePoint, Slack, Google Drive, Box – and all are protected by Active Cypher Cloud Fortress because it relies on Active Directory’s Security Groups & Users to automatically allow or prevent decryption. By managing keys at the identity level, not the user level, individuals don’t need to remember passphrases, PINs, and recovery keys, plus you won’t find them scrawled on sticky notes. Open files seamlessly, without the hindrance of human error.

Active Cypher had a philosophy from the beginning – don’t build what’s not necessary. To make something simple requires time to reduce elements to their essence. We have done this by simplifying a process and removing the barrier to entry that once took days, distilling it into minutes. And price shouldn’t be what keeps any sized business from being secure. By keeping costs low per user, any business can use Active Cypher Cloud Fortress and we are proud of that.


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