"When I travel, my sensitive files are encrypted inside a
TrueCrypt container. TrueCrypt is widely respected, widely used (at
least by techies), free, open source, and available for Windows,
Mac, and Linux. But it does take a little work to use it. For
non-techies, the process of creating secure containers, then
mounting them and dismounting them may be too much.
"To make encryption as simple as possible for non-techies, some
companies employ full disk encryption (FDE). Typically this only
requires entering a password at system startup, thereafter, it
requires no extra work on the part of the computer user. With full
disk encryption, every byte on the hard drive is encrypted.
"This sounds great, at first. However, I don't think the
internal hard drive of a computer should be fully encrypted, for
many reasons. I discussed some of the reasons back in June when I
blogged about the ThinkPad USB Secure Hard Drive from Lenovo. For
example, nothing beats physical security, thus it's better to
encrypt an external hard drive because it's smaller than any laptop
and thus can go with you more places than a computer can."