How to Guard Access to Open Volumes

SafeHouse includes a variety of features to help you guard access to your open volumes. These features are important because they help with times when you don't want to close your open volumes, yet you also don't want to leave your files exposed. Or when you simply step away from your PC for a while, leaving it vulnerable to intruders.

The solution is to suspend access to your volumes.

Suspending access to volumes is not the same as closing them. Technically, as far as Windows is concerned, the volumes are still open and nothing has changed. However, under the hood, SafeHouse takes over and temporarily blocks all low-level disk activity to the open volumes. Access to the volumes will remain blocked until you enter your password.

Volumes can be suspended using any of the following methods:

All four trigger methods are described on this page. Keep reading.

Once SafeHouse enters the suspended state, the dialog pictured below is displayed and your password will be needed to regain access to the open files.

Password

Enter the password for your open volume.

If you have more than one volume open when this dialog appears, you'll need to enter the passwords for each volume in order to exit this mode. The message under the password input field tells you how many passwords are still needed. Enter one password at a time and click Resume.

Read from Smartcard

When using smartcards with SafeHouse, clicking this button will cause SafeHouse to read your volume passwords from your smartcard and resume. Your smartcard PIN may be required; depending on your smartcard PIN cache configuration settings. In this case, there is no need to manually type your password in the field above.

If you have more than one volume open and are using multiple smartcards, you'll need to insert each card in turn and click this button to let SafeHouse find all the passwords it needs from your various smartcards.

Close All

Clicking this button immediately closes all volumes. This is identical to selecting Close All from the system tray menu. It's included here to make sure you know it's an option; just in case you might in fact be done using these files and would be just as happy closing everything down.

Resume

Enter your password in the field above and click this button to restore access to your suspended volume.

For multiple volumes, enter one password and click Resume; and repeat. The order of passwords does not matter.

Manually Suspend Access to Open Volumes

You can manually suspend access to your open volumes by clicking the Suspend Access system tray menu option. The affect is identical to any of the automatic trigger options described on this page.

SafeHouse Activity Monitor

The SafeHouse activity monitor runs silently in the background watching for certain events which might put your open volumes at risk. These include putting your PC to sleep or leaving your PC unattended when you have open volumes.

The SafeHouse Activity Monitor dialog is where you set preferences for the kinds of things SafeHouse will watch for, and the action which should be taken in the circumstance one of these events is detected.

How to Launch this Dialog:
  1. Right click the SafeHouse padlock system tray icon.

  2. Choose Tools & Options from the menu.

  3. Click the Tools tab.

  4. Click the Volume Activity Monitor button.

Please make any required changes and click OK to accept.

Restrict Access to Volumes When

SafeHouse can automatically monitor your PC for situations whereby it might be a good idea to restrict access to your open volumes.

The specific action to be taken when one of these events is detected is determined by the Take this Action setting.

Windows Hibernates

When checked, SafeHouse will watch for when your PC enters a sleep or hibernation state.

This is useful when your PC goes to sleep when you have sensitive files open and you don't want somebody later coming along and waking up your PC and having access to your files.

Consider this scenario: You close the lid to your laptop to take advantage of its nifty feature of suspending Windows and being able to pick up exactly where you left off when you open the lid. Without SafeHouse watching for this and taking some appropriate action, if your laptop was then stolen, all the thief would have to do is open the lid to your laptop to have instant access to all your files. But don't worry, keep this box checked and SafeHouse will protect you by requiring a password to regain access to your protected files after opening the lid to your laptop.

Your Keyboard and Mouse are Inactive

Check this box if you would like to trigger volume access restrictions after some period of inactivity. For this event to trigger, your keyboard, mouse and SafeHouse volumes must not see any activity for the specified period of time. This means that any background program that you have which routinely accesses files on an open SafeHouse volume will prevent this event from triggering.

Take this Action

When the activity monitor is triggered, the action it takes depends on which of the below options are selected.

This action can be triggered by any of the following events:

Suspend Access

Choose this option to put your volumes into a suspended state when the activity monitor triggers.

Once volumes are placed into a suspended state, you will need to re-enter your password in order to begin using them again. This is not the same as closing them. Here, they remain open; just inaccessible. This is generally a safe state even when you have open documents or files on the volume.

Please note that some applications which automatically keep trying to access files on suspended volumes may at some point give up and report an error. This is something outside of the control of SafeHouse. Our job is to cut off access. If you are at the same time running applications which don't like this behavior, then you may need to choose which applications and features are most important to you.

Immediately Close All Open Volumes

Choose this option to close your open volumes when the activity monitor triggers.

Be careful in choosing this option. Closing a volume with open files could cause damage to your files.

Restrict Access on Smartcard Removal

The final way to trigger restrictions on open volumes is by removing your smartcard when you've enabled smartcard removal detection as shown below.

In this case, the SafeHouse volume activity monitor is notified when smartcards are removed and it immediately suspend access to your open volumes.

See Using Smartcards with SafeHouse for more information about smartcard preference settings.

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