Finding the best encryption software for your needs, whether you're a business or home user, is essential, as hackers are becoming ever more adept at stealing your private information.
Encryption tools encode data so that it can only be unlocked with a certain key, making it harder for third-parties to gain access. This means that only people who have access to that key can also access the data, making encryption software an essential tool for keeping data safe.
These encryption tools can be used to protect data such as email addresses, customer transactions and passwords, and other crucial information which you really can’t afford to potentially expose. Many companies are also using encryption software to ensure internal online conversations and emails are kept private.
So which are the best encryption tools? Read on for our pick of the very best tools for keeping your data safe.
Free encryption for everyone
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux | Resources covered: Encryption and brute-force attack protection | Cloud-based: No | Integrations: No | Free trial: N/A
VeraCrypt is one of the most popular security tools, providing you with enterprise-grade encryption for important data.
The system is quite easy to use, and all it really does is add encrypted passwords to your data and partitions. All you have to do is give the tool a few details about your data, such as volume size, location and specified hashing algorithms – and then the program does its thing.
What’s also nifty about VeraCrypt is that it’s immune to brute-force attacks, so you never have to worry about hackers decrypting your passwords and other sensitive data. The basic version of the software is completely free, as well.
Encryption for small teams and individuals
Platforms: Windows, macOS | Resources covered: Encryption, password protection, mobile apps | Cloud-based: Yes | Integrations: Google Docs, Dropbox | Free trial: 30 days (fully free version also available)
While free software can be convenient for some, it’s not always as powerful as premium offerings, and AxCrypt is a good bet if you want something reliable. The software has been designed specifically for individuals and small teams within businesses.
It provides strong security, with files protected by either 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption, which should thwart any intruders. There are also cloud storage capabilities thrown into the mix – the software will automatically protect files saved on services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
AxCrypt is fully multilingual, and it can work with languages such as Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Swedish, Russian and Portuguese – with more support planned for the future. As well as this, there’s passport management, and you can access your encrypted files through a smartphone app.
The Premium package is $27 per year (roughly £20, AU$34), while there is a free version which has much fewer options.
3. Folder Lock
Effective encryption for individuals
Platforms: Windows, Android, iOS | Resources covered: Encryption, password protection, brute-force attack prevention | Cloud-based: Yes | Integrations: No | Free trial: N/A
Although it’s important to protect assets on company computers, it’s also crucial to add protection to any device that stores critical data. For instance, most employees have access to their company emails and other accounts on their smartphones, and they need to be protected.
Folder Lock is a good option when it comes to adding encryption to your mobile devices. The app can protect your personal files, photos, videos, contacts, wallet cards, notes and audio recordings stored in your handset.
There are some other hidden security features, too. Not only is there encryption, but you can also set a decoy password, hacker deterrents, log unauthorised login attempts, back up all your passwords and get notified on potential brute-force attacks. The basic app is free to download, with a pro version available if you want more.
4. CryptoExpert 8
Powerful protection indeed
Platforms: Windows | Resources covered: Encryption, password protection, brute-force attack prevention | Cloud-based: No | Integrations: No | Free trial: 30 days
CryptoExpert is Windows desktop software which offers secure data vaults for all your data, ensuring it’s always protected from potential breaches.
It provides more powerful encryption than some of the other tools and apps listed in this article, boasting fast on-the-fly operation. The system can back up a range of different files, including certificates, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, multimedia files and email databases.
The best thing about CryptoExpert 8 is that it can secure vaults of unlimited size, and it uses Blowfish, Cast, 3DES and AES-256 encryption algorithms. The latter are highly effective and industry-acclaimed. It’ll work with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, 8 and 10.
A quality cloud-based solution
Platforms: Desktop | Resources covered: Encryption, password protection, brute-force attack prevention, secure file storage | Cloud-based: Yes | Integrations: No | Free trial: 30 days
CertainSafe is highly effective cloud-based encryption software which attempts to mitigate all aspects of risk and is compliant with industry regulations.
With the platform, you can store and share documents, private messages, photos, videos and other files without exposing them to third-party sources. You can even collaborate and communicate with colleagues through the system, with all correspondence encrypted.
CertainSafe also adds automated security for business databases and applications, meaning you don’t always have to do things manually. You can subscribe for a monthly plan, but before making any decisions, there’s the option to get a free trial and try things out that way.