Enterprises invest in state-of-the-art threat defenses like next-gen firewalls, microsegmentation and zero trust tools. However, even the very best tools in these categories assume that data breaches happen and aim to limit the damage. Sending and receiving data is one element that creates the potential for data breaches because attackers can intercept data transfers.
Once attackers gain access to a network or data in transit, the best course of action to protect sensitive information is to make it indecipherable. Encryption software protects data in motion and data at rest. Data secured with encryption can only be accessed using a password, thus adding an extra, vital layer of security.
Best encryption tools & software
This list contains both traditional encryption products that offer file encryption for data in motion and at rest, as well as newer quantum cryptography tools. Modern encryption algorithms require so much processing power to break that they’re virtually hacker-proof. But with the advent of powerful quantum computing, this may no longer be the case.
Quantum cryptography, also called quantum encryption, applies the principles of quantum mechanic’s fluid states to solve substantially more problems with the same processing speed to keep up with hackers using quantum computing. If you want to prepare for the future, quantum cryptography could be a good option for you.
IBM Security Guardium Data Encryption
IBM Security Guardium Data Encryption performs encryption and decryption operations with a minimal performance impact. Features include centralized key and policy management, compliance-ready and granular encryption of files and folders, as well as volumes of data, each protected under its own encryption key.
Guardium is also made up of a suite of security tools aimed at streamlining data protection and management. Along with encryption solutions, it also includes activity monitoring, data discovery, vulnerability scanning compliance reporting and more. IBM Security Guardium is available by subscription and is best suited for enterprise companies who want an all-in-one solution for data security.
See our in-depth look at IBM Guardium Data Encryption.
AxCrypt Premium may not be as robust as competitors but it is a powerful solution for smaller organizations that don’t have the resources to support more comprehensive solutions. It can support both 128-bit and 256-bit AES encryption and files can be conveniently accessed through a mobile app.
This is also a good option for cloud-based networks. Axcrypt Premium automatically encrypts files saved on cloud services like Google Drive, AWS and Dropbox. A free version is available but unless you’re an individual looking to secure a home computer, it likely will be too limited to serve a business’s security needs.
VeraCrypt is a popular option in the enterprise-grade encryption market for Windows, macOS and Linux operating systems. It automatically encrypts data and creates partitions in your network based on volume size, location and specified hashing algorithms. This makes it an easy-to-implement solution for organizations looking for a more hands-off approach.
VeraCrypt is an open source program. This can sometimes be an issue as corporate products typically receive more regular updates than open source alternatives. But VeraCrypt has a strong following of advocates and is constantly being improved with new security enhancements. The basic version of VeraCrypt is free and strong enough to serve some organizations’ needs.
See our in-depth look at Veracrypt.
NordLocker is a relatively new encryption tool but it was developed by a cybersecurity heavyweight, NordVPN. It provides 256-bit AES encryption, which is enough to secure most data, but where it shines is the inclusion of 4096-bit encryption. If 256-bit doesn’t quite give you peace of mind, 4096-bit surely will.
Users also appreciate the intuitive user interface. Adding or removing individual files from NordLocker is as simple as drag-and-drop. This should free up plenty of time for IT teams to work on other projects. NordLocker is available for both macOS and Windows.
Kruptos 2 is a suite of encryption tools that specializes in providing AES 256-bit encryption across a network using multiple operating systems, specifically Windows, Mac and Android. It’s also built to encrypt files across a wide variety of platforms, including mobile devices, portable storage and cloud-based services.
Kruptos 2 also comes with some helpful features like a strong password generator so there’s no worry of insecure passwords used throughout an organization. There’s also a virtual file shredder so any information that needs to be deleted is completely wiped from the disk. Kruptos 2 is available as a one-time purchase license rather than a subscription, so you only need to pay once. Single operating system licenses start at $39.95, but to get the full cross-platform experience, the bundle comes in at $64.95.
If your organization primarily employs cloud storage over on-premises, then Boxcryptor was designed for you. Boxcryptor provides a combination of AES and RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) end-to-end encryption for 30 different cloud services. Some of the key services include Google Drive, Microsoft and Dropbox.
The company refers to itself as a “zero-knowledge provider,” essentially meaning they streamline the implementation of encryption across multiple services and devices. There’s no need to be an encryption expert to deploy and manage Boxcryptor. Business subscriptions are available for $96 a year.
Some may already be familiar with 7-Zip as an archive utility tool but it offers much more than that. 7-Zip compresses files to reduce storage space and increase transmission speed. Additionally, it offers powerful encryption for data stored and in transit. Part of what makes it an accessible option is its simplicity. But if you’re looking for a product with a lot of additional features, you won’t find many here.
7-Zip may not have the scale to encompass enterprise encryption use-cases but it is a solid and easy-to-use option for smaller organizations. It was originally built for Windows but is also available on macOS and Linux systems. It’s also completely free to use.
Quantum Numbers Corp QRNG
Quantum Numbers Corp’s QNG2 is a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) and is the first quantum cryptography product on our list. Its innovative quantum tunneling solution creates a sequence of truly random numbers that traditional encryption solutions are incapable of and can’t even be deciphered by hackers using quantum computing themselves.
QRNG also comes with an alert system that notifies you of any attempts to intercept incoming or outgoing communications. Quantum Numbers Corp’s encryption solution offers high-speed encryption, true randomness and on-demand scalability at a relatively low cost compared to other quantum cryptography solutions.
KETS Quantum Key Distribution
KETS’s Quantum Key Distribution product is able to encrypt stored data like other platforms but its main focus is on securing data in transit and correspondences. Its key distribution chip integrates into communication systems to secure transmitted data. It constantly and automatically changes encryption keys as data is being communicated in a one-time block cipher mode.
Its focus may be on secure communications but it still delivers on quantum-secure stored data with powerful encryption. KETS Quantum Key Distribution’s chip defends against malevolent third parties, conventional hacks and quantum attacks.
Check Point Full Disk Encryption Software Blade
The Check Point Full Disk Encryption Software Blade provides automatic security for all information on endpoint hard drives, including user data, operating system files and temporary and erased files. Multi-factor pre-boot authentication ensures user identity. It holds the highest compliance certifications, including FIPS, Common Criteria and BITS.
Checkpoint’s deployment is a straightforward process and both encryption and decryption are executed quickly. Its encrypted file restoration feature comes in handy to restore files back to their original location. Its robust reporting helps to detect malware and show how it behaves.
See our in-depth look at Check Point Full Disk Encryption Software Blade.
DESlock Encryption by ESET has a web-based management console that allows multi-user administration across the network. Additional features include remote device wipe, simplified key sharing and encryption policy setting and enforcement. Centralized management delivers the ability to control devices anywhere in the world.
DESlock is a highly customizable encryption tool that can make security as simple or as granular as you need depending on your resources and the experience level of your security team. One downside is that it does not include support for Linux systems.
See our in-depth look at Eset DESlock.
Dell Data Protection
Dell Data Protection provides software-based, data-centric encryption that protects all data types on multiple endpoints and operating systems. It integrates with existing security platforms and tools and enables IT to manage encryption policies for multiple endpoints from a single management console. In addition, the encryption tool allows IT to rapidly enforce encryption policies on system drives or external media without end-user intervention.
The enterprise version of Dell Data Protection offers centralized management for systems using a self-encrypting drive (SED) for full-disk encryption (FDE). It also offers multifactor authentication and support for smart cards and cryptographic tokens.
See our in-depth look at Dell Encryption Enterprise.
McAfee Complete Data Protection
McAfee Complete Data Protection comprises data loss prevention, full-disk encryption, device control, and protection for cloud storage as part of an integrated suite. Centralized policy management is provided by the McAfee ePO management console for remote access and to define, implement and enforce mandatory, company-wide security policies.
Complete Data Protection can also be used to monitor real-time events. These events and other information can be compiled using the tool’s advanced reporting and auditing capabilities.
See our in-depth look at McAfee Complete Data Protection.
Micro Focus Voltage SecureData
Micro Focus Voltage SecureData provides an end-to-end data-centric approach to enterprise data protection, securing data persistently at rest, in motion and in use. It protects data at the field level, preserves format and context and provides granular policy controls. It offers security controls for Big Data applications too.
Voltage’s Data Privacy Manager ensures privacy through the entire data lifecycle, spanning everything from data discovery and classification to encryption, reporting and auditing.
See our in-depth look at Micro Focus SecureData.
Bitdefender GravityZone leverages encryption capabilities provided by Windows (BitLocker) and Mac (FileVault) platforms. Encryption management is done from the same cloud or on-premises console used for endpoint protection. GravityZone is a flexible solution that can be great for entry-level protection to cover basic encryption tasks but is also feature-rich enough to handle complex enterprise security. One downside is that you will need to purchase a second subscription if you want unlimited VPN access.
See our in-depth look at Bitdefender GravityZone.
Sophos encryption products include mobile recovery of BitLocker or FileVault recovery keys, and granting of access to encrypted files based on the security state of the endpoint. Further, they provide full disk encryption, central management for Windows BitLocker and macOS FileVault, service-to-service key recovery, role-based access and application-based encryption.
Unfortunately, Sophos Safeguard lacks cloud-hosted file encryption capabilities. But if you need an on-premises encryption solution, its location-based file encryption and application-based encryption make it a worthy option.
See our in-depth look at Sophos.
Broadcom Symantec Encryption
Broadcom Symantec’s integrated encryption product line includes endpoint, email and file encryption. Endpoint encryption encompasses full disk encryption, cloud data encryption, policy enforcement integration, and encryption of messages from Apple iOS and Android. It also integrates with Active Directory.
Some users report the GUI feels a bit dated but overall it’s simple to use, and reliable and easy to manage. Symantec has also been praised for its tech support if you run into issues.
See our in-depth look at Symantec Encryption.
Trend Micro Endpoint Encryption
Trend Micro Endpoint Encryption provides full disk encryption, folder and file encryption, and removable media encryption. A single management console allows clients to manage encryption along with other Trend Micro security products.
It also includes activity monitoring so it can give you a detailed view of how malicious attackers gained access and navigated through your system.
See our in-depth look at Trend Micro Endpoint Encryption.
What is data encryption?
Encryption software scrambles readable data using algorithms in encryption keys and turns it into an encoded piece of information. Public encryption keys are used to initially scramble and secure the information. A private key held by an authorized user is then used to decrypt the data and return it to a readable format. Modern encryption keys abide by the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) that uses 128-bit and 256-bit key lengths, which are extremely long strings of numbers, to scramble information. In some cases, even 4096-bit key lengths are used.
Encryption helps ensure that data stored and in transit (at rest and in motion) remains secure and indecipherable but eventually, that information will need to be accessed. This opens the window for hackers to find and steal that information. Homomorphic encryption was developed to allow computation on encrypted data in use so it remains confidential while some tasks can be carried out. This can be helpful for added security but not all tasks can be completed when working with homomorphically encrypted data.
Benefits of encryption software
All organizations must store and transmit data, such as personally identifiable information (PII) or financial data. This is especially true for the massive amounts of data managed by enterprise organizations. Encryption is critical for protecting information that’s exposed when other security software on the front lines fails.
Data encryption is not only helpful in protecting sensitive information but also helps reduce the chance of expensive legal fees and damage to an organization’s reputation. Without proper security measures in place, including encryption, organizations risk coming under fire for not complying with data privacy regulations, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
File encryption vs. full-disk encryption
It’s important to know the distinction between file encryption and full-disk encryption to avoid leaving holes in your security infrastructure. Full-disk encryption is useful for securing individual devices. Its use cases are limited as it can’t encrypt data being sent from or received by that device.
File encryption is a more comprehensive solution. It can encrypt all individual files and pieces of data stored on a device or on a server, as well as encrypt data in transit.
Both full-disk encryption and file encryption have their applications. Which is best for your organization depends on your security needs. This list includes both types of encryption products.
What to look for in encryption software
There are a few key features to look for when shopping for an encryption solution. Password strength indicators should be a priority. Far too many employees use the same simple, easy-to-remember passwords for almost everything. Password strength indicators will help reduce any vulnerabilities caused by weak passwords.
Password management capabilities can also assist with this by securely storing and inputting passwords automatically so that every employee can have long, complicated passwords without needing to remember them. Also, look for virtual document shredding functions. This will ensure that any data that is deleted is actually eradicated and can’t be scraped from your disk.
Encryption best practices
Encryption may be one of the most powerful tools in your security architecture, but it is not a stand-alone solution. It should still be combined with other solutions, such as antivirus software, firewalls and VPN services to cover all endpoints.
After encrypting or copying a version of a file, the original unencrypted version should always be completely wiped from your system. The data may still exist on the disk even after it’s been deleted and can be recovered using specialized tools. Using a virtual shredder or secure deletion feature will ensure it’s completely wiped.
Best encryption software comparison chart
Here’s a quick view of the best encryption software products on the market. Jump down to our in-depth analysis of each product to get a better understanding of which will best serve your needs.
Product Full Disk Encryption File Encryption Enterprise Key Features Deployment Price
IBM Guardium Data Encryption Yes Yes Yes - Compliance-ready capabilities
- Tokenization and data masking
- Cloud key orchestration
SaaS/Web/Cloud Contact for a custom quote
AxCrypt Premium No Yes Yes - Secure sharing using public key cryptography
- Secure file deletion
- Secure online password storage
Software - perpetual license $9.92/ month subscription
VeraCrypt No Yes Yes - Partition encryption
- Supports both UEFI and MBR for Windows
Open source freeware utility download Free/open source
CertainSafe Digital Safety Deposit Box No Yes Yes - Authenticates user to server and vice versa
- Securely retains past file versions
SaaS Contact for a custom quote
NordLocker No Yes Yes - Simple drag-and-drop UI
- Encrypted files can be viewed through app without encrypting
SaaS Contact for a custom quote
Kruptos 2 No Yes No - Seamless cloud encryption
- Data shredding
- Inbuilt secure note editor
Software client $39.95 / one-time purchase
Boxcryptor No Yes Yes - SSO (single sign-on)
- User provisioning
- Account capture
Software - perpetual license Contact for a custom quote
7-Zip No Yes No - Encrypted file compression
- Fast file sharing speeds
Open source freeware utility download Free / open source
Quantum Numbers Corp QNG2 No Yes Yes - Quantum cryptography
- Quantum tunneling
- Quantum random number generation
PCIe distribution chips Price per chip:
- $1,605 / PCIe 40 Mbps
- $3,715 / PCIe 240 Mbps
KETS Quantum Key Distribution No Yes Yes - Specializes in securing data in transit
- Quantum secured stored data
PCIe distribution chips Contact for a custom quote
Check Point Full Disk Encryption Software Blade Yes No Yes - Track and manage encrypted devices individually
- Central policy enforcement
- Central log of usage and movement
Software packaged inside a Check Point Software Blade Based on the sale of hardware blades
Eset DESlock Yes No Yes - FIPS 140-2 Validated 256 bit AES encryption
- Hybrid-cloud based management server
Management server installed on a Windows machine Sliding scale starting at $56 per user
Dell Data Protection Yes No Yes - External policy creation
- Full volume encryption solution
- FIPS 140-2 Validated 256 bit AES encryption
Software and agents Per seat perpetual license with one-year support starts at about $79 USD
McAfee Complete Data Protection Yes No Yes - Central endpoint management
- Supports hybrid-cloud environments
- Advanced reporting and auditing
Software client On a per-node basis
Micro Focus Voltage SecureData Yes No Yes - Supports hybrid-cloud environments
- Data privacy manager
Virtual appliance Pricing varies by per application or per node
Bitdefender GravityZone Yes No Yes - Human risk analytics
- Machine learning capabilities
- Sandbox analyzer
Cloud or on-premises Starts at $22.95 per endpoint per year
Sophos SafeGuard Yes Yes Yes - Secure file share
- Self-service portal
Cloud or on-premises Pricing per user per year,starting at $20 (cloud)
Symantec Encryption Yes No Yes - SSO (single sign-on)
- Integrates with Symantec Data Loss Prevention
Software or cloud Perpetual or Subscription licensing
Trend Micro Endpoint Encryption Yes Yes Yes - Advanced reporting and auditing
- Pre-boot authentication
- Active Directory integration
Software client Pricing starts at $33.75 per user for 501 users