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I am trying to create a storage solution for multiple users working offline. Our info sec team will not permit the use of a NAS device as all storage devices must use BitLocker Encryption.

We have attempted to connect users to a router via Ethernet cables and attach a drive to the router via USB. When the drive is not encrypted this works, when the drive is encrypted users can see and access the drive but there is no prompt for BitLocker password and data remains encrypted/illegible.

Does anyone know if read/write access can be granted by BitLocker on a drive connected thru a router?

Router: AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router

Drives: Multiple Generic Thumb Drives

I am open to any suggestions regarding alternative ways to give multiple users read/write access to a common storage point that is encrypted via BitLocker in an offline setting.

  • Are you using if you can enable Bitlocker on network share that is mounted. It is indeed, not possible, to enable Bitlocker on a mount network share which of course is how the router is sharing that drive. You should allow your information security team to come with an acceptable solution. – Ramhound Nov 30 '17 at 20:29
  • @Ramhound I am not sure I understand your statement. Currently a thumb drive that is encrypted via Bitlocker is connected via USB to a router. When I connect to the router via Ethernet (using the very PC that encrypted the drive), the PC can see the thumb drive however there is no Bitlocker password prompt and all the data on the drive appears to be encrypted. At that point the drive can be connected directly to the same PC and read. – Garrett Nov 30 '17 at 20:34
  • When you connect the USB device, to the router, the PC that encrypted the drive is able to mount the volume? If that is what is happening, then I am confused how the router is sharing the device (typically that is done through SMB) but does this PC have a TPM by chance? How are you mounting the drive exactly, because it does not appear to be possible, to enable Bitlocker on an network share (which is the reason I pointed that out – Ramhound Nov 30 '17 at 20:41
  • Yes the PC has TPM. The user sees the encrypted drive's name appear via Windows Explorer and can click it to open it like any other drive or network. The root folder is there (name of the drive model) but the contents appear to be encrypted. – Garrett Nov 30 '17 at 20:50
  • It sounds like what is happening is honestly a fluke. Based on my research, the drive shouldn't even be accessible, There are NAS devices that exist that allow you to encrypt the data contained on them. – Ramhound Nov 30 '17 at 20:54
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If you add another windows PC, which will probably have to be the Server version or you will have a 10 user max.

Then attach all the hard drive(s) to the PC turn on Bitlocker and encrypt your hard drive(s). Now you can use windows file sharing to share the storage across your network.

You might (as I have never tested it) be able to do something similar with dislocker which a provided a link for linux in the comments.

However, you will not be prompted for a Bitlocker password. The drives will be encypted with BitLocker.

You should check back with your IT department because as long as the drives are encrypted with Bitlocker that should be enough to satisfy them. Unless they have a separate problem with file sharing. Obviously, the file share should be password protected, but even then it is not a Bitlocker encryption password.

  • Thanks for the input - we are unable to make 'home groups' (info sec policy) but perhaps there's another way to share files. Sounds like we will have to lean on the info sec team to come up with some creative strategies. – Garrett Dec 1 '17 at 13:21
  • No where did I say 'home groups', I said windows file sharing, sometimes called windows file and print sharing totally different. – cybernard Dec 1 '17 at 20:51

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