The Best Data Encryption Software of 2020

June 3, 2021 • Devin Partida


The growing value of personal data means that data theft of all kinds is becoming more and more common.

Even if your computer is protected by a modern antivirus, you’re not immune to viruses, malware and other attacks that can expose your info to hackers and cyber criminals. 

Encrypted data and backups  are the only real way to keep your data secure and out of the hands of hackers who might use your personal info for nefarious purposes.

If you want to encrypt data locally, you’ll need the right tool. Fortunately, there is a wide range of consumer and business encryption software available that will help you keep your data safe.

The Best Encryption Software for Individuals: Folder Lock

If you want a powerful and easy-to-use piece of encryption software, FolderLock is probably one of the best out there. 

You can use the tool to store individual files, folders and drives in encrypted lockers, making them unreadable without decryption.

You can also lock individual files and folders, which will make them inaccessible to anyone who doesn’t have the password.

There’s no full and free version of the program, but you can run Folder Lock 25 times before needing to pay up. The software is a little pricey at $39.95, but once you pay, you’ll be able to use the software whenever, without additional cost. 

The Best Encryption Software for Small Businesses: AxCrypt

If you’re managing more than a handful of devices or coordinating data encryption across local and cloud storage, you may want to consider upgrading to a business solution, like AxCrypt.

The tech is subscription-based, with one free payment plan, a $4-a-month plan for individuals and a $12 plan for organizations. The tool is similar to Folder Lock, but offers some features that you don’t get with a tool intended for individuals.

With the business plan, you’ll have access to automatic encryption, team key sharing and cloud storage features. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the company’s business support line.

Built-in Encryption Tools: Windows BitLocker and Apple FileVault

Modern operating systems also include their own encryption tech by default. If your computer is running on a recent version of Windows or MacOS, you can take advantage of these proprietary encryptions tools. 

If you’re looking to encrypt a single USB or drive on your personal computer, these options are surprisingly powerful and easy to use. 

These tools do come with the usual risks that encryption tools carry. If you forget your encryption recovery key, it can be hard to decrypt your files. However, they may not require an extra download, and are almost guaranteed to work with modern computers running Windows or MacOS.

If you choose one of these tools, just make sure you pick the right one for your OS — BitLocker for Windows and FileVault for MacOS devices.

Powerful Open-Source Data Encryption: VeraCrypt

While both BitLocker and File Vault are easy to use and free, they’re not as fully-featured as some paid data encryption tools. 

VeraCrypt is a popular, free and open-source encryption utility that works with Windows, Mac and Linux desktops. Like other encryption tools, you can use VeraCrypt to encrypt an entire drive or drive partition.

VeraCrypt, however, is a bit more complicated than the average user may want. While the underlying encryption software is extremely powerful, the trade-off of ease of use for extra features may make the program less valuable for casual users.

Defend Your Data With These Encryption Tools

If you want to keep your digital information safe, encryption software can be one of the best tools you have available. Between these four options, you have choices that are easy-to-use, powerful and good for businesses that may need to coordinate file encryption across multiple devices and cloud storage.