If you are an end user, the cheaper options probably work for you right now. If you are a large company, replacing thousands of hard drives or upgrading to Vista is a huge job with huge costs, and it's probably cheaper to buy a third-party encryption product. Unpleasant as the prospect of a big, expensive software rollout is, the alternative sucks. So, git-r-done already.
Some advice on third-party products:
- Test. And I don't just mean functionality. At least a couple of the products in Gartner's Magic Quadrant have glaring design holes in them. The kind that make it possible to bypass the product altogether in certain configurations. Oops!
- Be thinking about your roll-out when you pick a product. Easy deployment and stable performance are worth probably $40-50/seat in terms of cost savings for the relatively short life of this project.
- Don't buy the 5-year support contract. If you plan to still have this stuff in wide deployment in 5 years, then you've also just finished deploying Windows 2000 SP4 and you've got bigger issues than laptop theft. Face it, nobody's going to steal your Celeron-366 laptops anyway.
- Think past the short-term fix. Buy and apply a bandage now. Spend more time planning and less money buying your next drive encryption solution. And if you're going to use something that requires new hardware, start buying today.