"Business or personal data stored in this way represents a huge
security risk: hundreds of thousands of laptops and memory sticks
are lost or stolen every year, and hardly a day goes by without
reports in the media about large organizations losing customers'
confidential information when computer equipment goes astray. The
cost of losing this data can be very high - data may have to be
recreated or regathered, customers may have to be compensated, and
there may be legal ramifications and a loss to the organization's
reputation. Yet this risk can be mitigated almost completely by
taking the simple precaution of encrypting the data before it is
"Microsoft now includes its BitLocker data encryption system in
some versions of Windows. But if you use a version of Windows
without BitLocker, or if you use Linux or Mac OS X - or if you
simply don't want to use an encryption system provided by Microsoft
- then the good news if there is an open source alternative called
TrueCrypt which is powerful, easy to use, and free."