If you’re an Android user and your device stores important business information, there is no reason not to be encrypting. You may have heard that encryption slows older models down, but whether you have a Blackberry Curve or a Nexus 5, the performance should not be affected in any significant way. In fact, the benefits of encrypting your data—especially if you are using your Android for business—far outweigh any minimal performance lags you may experience.
Why are Android users so reluctant to encrypt? According to the Wall Street Journal, only 10% of Androids are encrypted, compared to 95% of iPhones. This is likely due to a number of reasons, including performance concerns, the mistaken belief that only major government agencies and celebrities need to protect their private information from hackers, and the simple fact that many people don’t know how to do it.
Identity theft is far more common than many average, everyday people realize. On the dark web, your private information could be worth a great deal of money, and cybercriminals will stop at nothing to steal your identity. Devices that have not been properly encrypted are often the targets. Since most unencrypted devices are Google products rather than Apple, Android users should be especially wary.
Good news for Nexus 5 users: Google has recently started encrypting all Nexus devices from version 5.0 onward. You may know your device’s software by its code name, “Lollipop.” Other Android devices run software nicknamed “Marshmallow,” which works in a similar way. It appears that Android is rolling out more and more encryption-friendly devices and making it simpler for users to secure their data.
Still, it is important to remember that Android users are at a slight disadvantage when it comes to encryption, because it must be done manually. While Apple products automatically encrypt data, phones like the Nexus 5 require manual encryption—a process that typically takes about an hour or so. On the bright side, you can encrypt data on both your phone and SD card.
Many people avoid encrypting their devices simply because they don’t think it’s a priority, but if you are using your Android phone for either business or personal reasons, it is worth your while to take the time to do so. If you haven’t encrypted your device yet, now is the time.