For a less drastic approach to securing data, you can utilize the freeware product TrueCrypt. This software uses generally accepted algorithms for encryption such as AES-256, TwoFish and Blowfish. The software has the ability to employe multiple encryption algorithms in a layered approach to make the data more secure. You can even select the type of hash that the key uses. I recommend RIPEMD-160 or Whirlpool for the security oriented. The SHA hash algorithms have shown some succeptability to attacks.
TrueCrypt is not whole disk encryption for your primary drive. It does however have the ability to completely encrypt secondary drives and even thumb drives. You can even hide the encrypted partition so that it is not available to prying eyes without the knowledge that it is there.
One of the greatest features of TrueCrypt is the ability to create portable encrypted thumb drives. You can take your media with you and access it from any machine without having to install the software.
TrueCrypt supports both Linux and Windows. Although there are plans to do so in the future, the software does not yet support Mac OSX. This is a bit of a drawback for me because I use all three platforms and have no way to have portable secure media that I can use between them without buying the useful and rather expensive JumpDrive Secure II.