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Why Utilizing Encryption Technology Could Save Your Company From Serious Breaches

23 Jan., 2018

The threat of data theft from large corporations by malicious attackers is an everyday reality now. Here’s why encryption technology could save your company from serious data breaches.

It bears repeating: It seems we can’t go a week without hearing about a large-scale enterprise data breach. It’s become a predictable cycle at this point. Credit card information, social security numbers, health info, or other valuable information falls into the wrong hands, and then companies receive a lot of well-deserved flack for negligent security practices. Repeat ad nauseam.

More importantly, individual customers go through a ton of catastrophic heartache in the fallout of a data breach. They have to make calls to banks, pleas to credit companies, and reports to the police—among the myriad other frustrations that encompass identity theft. Just ask the half of America that got caught up in the Equifax breach.

In 2018, the threat of sensitive data theft from large corporations by malicious attackers is just an everyday reality, which is why utilizing the latest in encryption technology could save your company from the fallout of a serious breach.

Many enterprise companies may not realize it, but encryption is a simple concept to understand.

Basically, encryption scrambles sensitive information to make it unreadable. The only people who can read it are those who have the encryption keys necessary to decrypt that cipher-text into plain, understandable language. So, even if valuable data ends up stolen (and it most likely will, one of these days) it will be impossible to read, rendered useless to the attacker.

For example, if you want to encrypt this personal information: “John Doe, D.O.B.: 1/2/2018. Likes: dogs.” Depending on the type of encryption used, that data could end up looking something like this: “Bc67Fc7F7f9G9w0AlW78c8Lk&4kW.” This data must be encrypted while in transit—moving through apps, browsers, email—and while at rest, or when it’s stored in hard drives, data centers, mobile devices, or the cloud. To decrypt it, the data’s receiver must have the encryption keys available on a computer or mobile device.

In fact, key management is just as important and sensitive a matter as encryption. If an encryption key is lost, then access to the data disappears, too, which is why the handling of encryption keys must be taken seriously by businesses.

Over the years, encryption has improved to keep up with the times. As more people connected to the Internet, computer scientists developed new algorithms strong enough to protect identifiable information. DES, 56-bit encryption introduced by IBM in the 1970s, gave way to Triple DES in 1998, which uses three 56-bit keys and is considered quite secure. In 2001, Advanced Encryption Standard introduced 256-bit keys, considered the highest form of encryption to date.  And it will keep improving, possibly on the quantum scale. Additionally, compliance standards are rapidly changing, which encourages companies and technologies to evolve. As the European Union’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) approaches, many enterprise companies must employ advanced encryption practices or face serious penalties.

Either way, encryption is the way of the future. As cyber attacks and data breaches rise, enterprise companies must prepare for the inevitable and implement encryption as part of their security plans, if they haven’t already.

Further Read:

Quantum computers are a threat to IT security


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