What is Data Encryption?
Protecting data is crucial for organizations to maintain privacy and meet compliance mandates. Data encryption is necessary for this process as it converts data into another form or code to prevent unauthorized access. It uses an algorithm (or cipher) to transform readable data, known as plaintext, into unreadable data, known as ciphertext. Only those with the correct secret key can decrypt the ciphertext back into plaintext and access the original information.
What Are the Types of Encryption?
There are two main types of encryption to address different security and logistical challenges of data protection and communication. While they may be used individually, they are sometimes combined to overcome the challenges of key distribution and performance needs.
- Symmetric Encryption (or Private Key Encryption): This method uses The same key for encryption and decryption. The biggest challenge is the secure distribution and management of the single key because if someone gets hold of the encryption key, they can easily decrypt all the data. Examples include the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and the Data Encryption Standard (DES). This variety of encryption is faster for encrypting large volumes of data as less computational overhead is involved.
- Asymmetric encryption (or Public Key Encryption) Unlike symmetric encryption, asymmetric encryption uses two, a public and private key. The public key is used for to encrypt data, while the private key is used for decryption. Computing the private key based on the public key is computationally infeasible. RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) is a typical example of an asymmetric encryption algorithm.
What Are the Benefits of Data Encryption?
Businesses find themselves navigating an intricate web of data, from customer information to trade secrets. This digital landscape, while rich with opportunity, also presents vulnerabilities. Data encryption emerges as a stalwart defender, fortifying business data and ensuring companies can operate confidently and securely.
One of the primary benefits of data encryption for businesses is protecting sensitive information. When data is encrypted, it transforms into an unreadable format, accessible only to those with the correct decryption key. This means that even if malicious actors were to breach a system, the stolen data would remain a jumble of cryptographic text, effectively useless without the corresponding key. This layer of security is paramount not only for safeguarding proprietary information but also for maintaining customer trust. Clients and customers are more likely to engage with businesses they believe will responsibly handle their personal and financial information. A breach can tarnish a company’s reputation, lead to financial losses, and even result in legal consequences.
Moreover, in an age where regulatory compliance is at the forefront, encryption aids businesses in meeting these mandates. Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the U.S. often require stringent data protection measures. By employing robust encryption practices, businesses can stay compliant, avoiding fines and potential legal battles. Furthermore, encrypted communication, especially in sectors like finance and healthcare, ensures that sensitive data exchanged between entities remains confidential and unaltered. Data encryption shields businesses from external threats and positions them as trustworthy stewards of data in the eyes of clients and regulators.
What Are The Use Cases for Data Encryption?
Data encryption is crucial in protecting information and maintaining privacy and security across different sectors. The protection provided covers maintaining data integrity as well as data loss prevention, making stolen data unusable, and reducing the impact of a data breach. These are some primary applications of data encryption:
- Secure Communication: Protects communications (emails, chats, calls) from unauthorized interception.
- Cloud Data Security: The cloud is notoriously exposed to the world, encryption ensures sensitive data is safe from external theft and modification.
- Sensitive Data: This information is encrypted to ensure confidentiality and compliance with regulations like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, GDPR, and many others.
- Online Transactions: Safeguards sensitive data (credit cards, bank details) during e-commerce and online banking.
- Data at Rest: Keeps files and databases on data storage devices (hard drives, SSDs) secure, especially if lost or stolen.
- Cloud Storage: With growing cloud usage, encryption ensures data remains private from providers and hackers.
- Authentication: Digital signatures (using asymmetric encryption) verify message authenticity and origin.
- VPNs: Maintain privacy of internet traffic, even on untrusted networks.
- Password Storage: Uses hashed (and salted) versions instead of plaintext passwords.
- End-to-end Encryption: Messaging apps ensure only the sender and receiver can read the content.
- Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin and others use encryption for transaction security and creating new units.
- DRM: Protects copyrighted content (e-books, music, video) from unauthorized reproduction or use.
- Securing IoT Devices: Essential for data transmission and storage in the growing IoT landscape.
How Does Dig Utilize Data Encryption?
Encryption is a crucial control for protecting data at rest and in transit, no matter where it resides. Failing to keep data protected with encryption leads to exposures allowing it to be intercepted as it traverses networks or accessed by unauthorized parties.
Dig Security employs a powerful combination of its Data Detection and Response (DDR) and Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) components to effectively defend sensitive data ensuring the right controls, such as encryption, are in place when necessary. DSPM leverages data discovery techniques to scan and analyze structured and unstructured data. Organizations can establish a security baseline through data classification and risk analysis and ensure that security measures align with regulatory requirements. This is complemented by the DDR feature, utilizing advanced machine learning algorithms and behavior-based analytics to enable real-time threat detection, promptly identifying unusual patterns of data interaction that may indicate potential security threats.
By unifying DDR and DSPM, Dig Security provides comprehensive protection for sensitive data, mitigating risks, promptly responding to threats, and fortifying organizations’ data security posture. This integrated approach empowers organizations to meet data compliance requirements and defend against potential breaches, ensuring their valuable data assets’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Contact Dig today to discover how their combined DSPM and DDR can help protect your sensitive data.