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Windows: Choosing the Method of Encryption

Choosing the Method of Encryption

The PEM Agent allows users to select different ways to encrypt a file; using a Smartkey, a passphrase or both. At the time of encryption, a selection window is presented showing all Smartkey options from which the user can select to protect the file and ensure only authorized individuals have access.


Encrypting with a Smartkey

Concept: Encrypting files with a Smartkey allows you to easily select a single key that will allow individuals or groups of users to access to the file, as long as they have access to the key. The Smartkey you choose should be selected based on the user(s) you’re sharing the file with. In order to open a file encrypted with a Smartkey, the user attempting to open it, must have access to that key; therefore, be sure to select a key appropriate for the users you’re sharing the file with.


Things to consider:

  • Is the file being shared internally, or externally?
  • Which users are you sharing the file with?
  • Are they in a specific department, line of business group, or a specific external entity?
  • Which key(s) are do the recipients of the file have access to?


Process:

  1. Locate the desired file on your desktop or in Windows Explorer.
  2. Right click on the file to reveal the ‘right-click context menu’.
  3. Position your cursor on ‘PEM Agent’ to reveal the PEM Agent sub-menu.
    1. Right-Click from the Desktop.

    2. Right-Click from Windows Explorer.

  4. Select ‘Encrypt to’:

    1. This option will display the ‘Save Archive As’ window, for you to name the file and select the destination into which the encrypted file will be placed.


    2. The name of the original file will be shown in the ‘File Name’ field, do not modify this; so the encrypted file will retain the name of the original
    3. Select the file share or other destination into which the encrypted file will be placed.
    4. Click Save.
  5. Choose the desired Smartkey to encrypt the file.



The Smartkey you select should be accessible by the individuals and/or groups that also need access to the file. The ‘Choose Keys for Encryption’ window displays available Smartkeys in the following categories:

  1. Default Smartkey – This is the Smartkey that is used most frequently and therefore designated, and pre-selected as your default.
  2. Smartkeys – This is a list of other Smartkeys you have access to, if you desire to encrypt a file with a key other than your default Smartkey you must de-select the default key and select a different key before selecting ‘Encrypt'.
  3. Click Encrypt.
  4. After you select ‘Encrypt’ the file will be encrypted with the passphrase you created.

Note

*Note: The passphrase should always be shared with non-PEM Agent users out-of-band such as via a phone call, test message, or separate email.

Encrypting with a Passphrase

Encrypting files with a passphrase allows you to easily share sensitive information with users who are not using the PEM Agent and/or don’t have access to any defined Smartkeys. Encrypting using this method all will require you to create and distribute a passphrase to the recipient, before they’re able to open the file.

Process:

  1. Locate the desired file on your desktop or in Windows Explorer.
  2. Right click on the file to reveal the ‘right-click context menu’.
  3. Position your cursor on ‘the PEM Agent’ to reveal the PEM Agent sub-menu.
    1. Right-Click from the Desktop.


    2. Right-Click from the Windows Explorer


  4. Select ‘Encrypt to’:
    1. This option will display the ‘Save Archive As’ window, for you to name the file and select the destination into which the encrypted file will be placed.

    2. The name of the original file will be shown in the ‘File Name’ field, do not modify this; so the encrypted file will retain the name of the original.
    3. Select the file share or other destination into which the encrypted file will be placed.
    4. Click Save

  5. Define the desired passcode to encrypt the file.


    1. De-select the default Smartkey checkbox, to use the passphrase encryption option.
    2. Create a passphrase of at least EIGHT characters, for the file by entering it into the ‘Passphrase’ field.
    3. You will need to confirm the passphrase by re-typing it into the ‘Confirm passphrase’ field and select ‘Encrypt’.
  6. After you select ‘Encrypt’ the file will be encrypted with the passphrase you created.

Note:  The passphrase should ALWAYS be shared with non-PEM Agent user out-of-band such as via a phone call, text message or separate email.

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