Encrypting everything is key
Now you know why here is how
Now that you understand WHY you should encrypt, it is now necessary to show you HOW to encrypt.
Unfortunately encryption is still a "technology" solution which means that the user experience is not as seamless and easy as what we may have become used to with other applications. This means that it takes a little bit of effort to set up your security, and there may be an extra two or three steps in the way you do things now.
But then, anytime you are taking control of any aspect of your life, there is a tradeoff that you make. In the case of privacy and security, the tradeoff is convenience.
By making a little extra effort, you can make grand in-roads into taking back control of your communications.
OpenGPG - OpenPGP is the most widely used email encryption standard. It is defined by the OpenPGP Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as a Proposed Standard in RFC 4880. OpenPGP was originally derived from the PGP software, created by Phil Zimmermann.
They provide software for the majority of platforms with varying degrees of integration.
The MacOS product integrates well however there is a general lag between major upgrades of the operating system. Key creation is very easy and there is a good plugin for Apple Mail (although it is affected by upgrades).
The Windows product is available here. The product requires a user nominated donation for the Download.
The iOS interface is a little clunky due to the way that iOS traditionally works, however is becoming easier with the functionality of split screens. Typically you need to copy the message into the OpenGP app which then decrypts the information for you. There may be a 3rd party email app that integrates more easily however I am yet to find it.
The Android interface is a much easier experience than the iOS device. Using K9 email, you can select to encrypt or sign your email from inside the App. The integration with multiple "keyboards" make it easier to encrypt/decrypt messages on the fly.
To create your key, open up the app and key in your email address as well as your passphrase. Make the passphrase secure as this is what is used to unlock your key. You will be given the option to export your key. Select yes as this exports your key to a public key server making it possible for other people to find your details and send you encrypted mail.
After installing the application it is now possible to encrypt your files as well as your communications using your key. Standard files that should be encrypted include anything to do with your identity, banking, health or personal affairs. Should your computer become compromised or stolen, then you can be safe in the knowledge your files are encrypted.
Any files that you store in the cloud should also be encrypted. This makes it difficult for third parties to gain access to the files.