The following are some products we use regularly – and recommend to our clients. They are usually free to use and are very well known.
7Zip (http://www.7-zip.org/) – FREE
7Zip is a free program that is well known and automatically uses 256 bit encryption when you put a password on the archive. It is easy to use – very much like WinZip that was popular years ago. The two main things in favour of this program are that it is free and automatically uses 256 bit encryption. It is great for encrypting small numbers of files into one file before emailing it or sharing it with others.
TrueCrypt (http://www.truecrypt.org/) – FREE
TrueCrypt is a great program for encrypting entire hard drives or creating encrypted containers on hard drives. This is great if you want to create a large encrypted container that you can mount and store files in. TimeAcct has easy to follow and use documentation on how to use TrueCrypt. If you would like a copy, just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily send you a document.
Eraser (http://eraser.heidi.ie/) – FREE
When you delete a file on Windows (or Mac/Linux for that matter) – it does not actually delete the file. All it does is mark the file as deleted. It is fairly easy to recover deleted files – sometimes even after they have been overwritten with other data. In order to meet government requirements for properly destroying files, you need to use a program like Eraser. It overwrites the file data up to 7 different times, following proper processes for data destruction. If you do not use a program like Eraser on a hard drive, then you are most likely not meeting your legal requirements under PIPEDA (or like legislation) in Canada.
Note – if you are dealing with removable hard drives, USB keys, etc. we would recommend using this program and then destroying the actual drive by driving nails through it, etc. before disposing of it.