The importance of data encryption is becoming more and more apparent as the world becomes increasingly digital. Not only are people sending sensitive information across networks that may not be secure, but many companies are storing their customers’ data on servers that can be hacked into by malicious individuals. Data encryption helps protect against these problems by ensuring that anyone who manages to access your files cannot open them without first decrypting them. Encryption also helps with compliance requirements like SOC 2, which requires organizations to create a data security policy to maintain their certification status.
What Is Data Encryption and Why Does It Matter?
The term “data encryption” is sometimes used as a catch-all phrase to describe the act of encoding data in some way. Still, it typically refers specifically to techniques that transform a piece of information into ciphertext (encrypted text). The transformation process usually involves using an algorithm or a series of specific steps. It means that decryption, or the process of transforming encrypted data back into its original form, is possible only with knowledge of the algorithm and a key.
The importance of data encryption to corporate security is that it protects sensitive information from unauthorized access. Organizations must encrypt data stored on workstations or in the cloud because it isn’t safe unless those who need to use this valuable resource have a way to decrypt and read the files, but only with proper authorization. Encryption prevents data breaches, maintains confidentiality, and enables compliance with security regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley.
In addition, when information must leave a secured environment (for example, offsite backups), the files will need to remain encrypted during transit as well as while at rest in any non-secure environment (such as cloud storage).
Data encryption can be used to protect data being sent and received over a network. It scrambles the data so that no one else can read it, including someone who manages to intercept the transmission in transit. Even if they have access to your computer or other devices, encrypted data will appear as gibberish until decrypted. Companies should use data encryption for any data that is particularly sensitive or valuable.
Encryption Standards are constantly changing with new standards being created and old ones being removed. That is why it’s so difficult to decide which one you should use for your business. Today’s most common encryption standard that companies could benefit from is TLS (Transport Layer Security). This security protocol was introduced as a replacement for SSL back in 2014.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is an older encryption standard that has been used for years to encrypt data before it travels over networks such as the Internet, Wi-Fi, or LAN. It uses RSA cryptography with key lengths of 512 bits in its public key exchange protocol, which is considered insecure and outdated (in terms of actual security, 128-bit AES key roughly compares to a 3072-bit RSA key). While SSL is still in use today, we don’t recommend you to use it to encrypt sensitive data such as passwords or credit card numbers because of its vulnerabilities.
TLS (Transport Layer Security), on the other hand, was released back in 2014 and uses a new protocol with more robust encryption algorithms such as AES-256, which is considered to be more secure than SSL. It also offers additional benefits such as forward secrecy, authentication, and improved key derivation methods, which will help protect the data from being intercepted by man-in-the-middle attacks. Additionally, TLS has the ability to adapt and evolve over time, providing future confidentiality enhancements as needed.
Both TLS and AES are considered strong encryption standards. However, suppose your company is required by law to use a specific standard. In that case, you must abide by it while still ensuring that all necessary security measures have been put in place, such as multi-factor authentication. Encryption isn’t enough on its own to protect your company’s sensitive data. It would be best to use it in conjunction with other security measures such as strong authentication, intrusion detection systems, and network monitoring tools.
What is Data Encryption Policy?
Encryption is critical for compliance with a variety of laws, regulations, and industry standards. Encryption policy helps define what types of encryption methods your organization allows, such as full disk encryption or encrypting sensitive data files. It also guides when to use encrypted communication channels such as email, file servers, and cloud storage.
A robust data encryption policy helps protect sensitive information and protects against the possibility of a security breach. If an organization’s employees use proper measures to encrypt sensitive data and files on mobile devices or computers, they will have less chance of becoming victims of identity theft. Some industries may require more stringent requirements than others for their data encryption policy.
The most crucial part of any encryption policy is the key management process. It doesn’t matter how much work you put into encrypting your data – if someone else has the keys, then they will be able to decrypt it as well. It means you need to treat your encryption keys as securely as you would any sensitive information, such as customer data or passwords. You must protect the confidentiality of the key at all costs.
The best way to ensure that your encryption policy is effective and has the appropriate controls in place is to test it. To do this, you should regularly perform a penetration test on all of your systems or hire outside consultants with specific expertise in data security. It will help uncover any gaps in your program and provide you with a roadmap for improvement.
What you should do:
– Create a data encryption policy that is specific to your business needs and requirements. Make sure it fits in with how your organization does things as well as being compliant with local laws and regulations, such as SOC, GDPR, or HIPAA. Make sure that you have a good understanding of the algorithms and protocols you are going to use.
– Use encryption technologies efficiently in your organization. Ensure all data is encrypted at rest, in transit, or while processed – depending on its intended purpose. Ensure that the algorithm you choose for each situation offers enough strength and that the keys are secure.
– Have a layer of defense in depth for your encryption. Make sure you have more than just one way to encrypt data if this is necessary. Also, ensure that all different levels of protection work together correctly so that any potential vulnerabilities or exploits can be patched up quickly and reported accurately.
What you should not do:
– Don’t assume that it is okay to only encrypt one kind of data or information in your organization. All data should be considered important, regardless of who created it or where it is located.
– Most importantly, don’t forget that encryption is a process, not an end goal. You can’t just encrypt something and then forget about it. The key management aspect of data protection needs the most attention because everything else falls apart very quickly without this.