How Data Encryption Can Help Your Business Stay Safe

Data encryption helps protect your valuable and sensitive data by rendering it unreadable to users who do not have the authorization to view it. Encryption adds an extra layer of security for your business, making it more difficult for hackers to utilize any stolen data from your systems.

Why Encryption Is Important

There are a variety of ways, such as tls 1.3, to encrypt data. The reason for using encryption is to protect your data from malicious use by unauthorized users. If your business stores sensitive information such as credit card numbers, birthdates, names, Social Security Numbers and addresses, your organization may be legally liable for damages caused by your failure to protect this information from unauthorized access. 

Encryption is particularly important for any data that is accessible from a portable device, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone. If one of these devices is lost or stolen, it can be easily broken into, even without the password. Encryption makes any data the thief might access on the device worthless. 

How Encryption Works

Encryption uses mathematical algorithms to make data unreadable by those who do not have the key to decode the message. The two main types of encryption are asymmetric and symmetric. Asymmetric encryption uses a combination of public and private keys. Symmetric encryption utilizes a single private key.

Advanced Encryption Standard is the most common type of symmetric encryption. This encryption scrambles data in hexadecimal form several times by utilizing 128-bit, 192-bit or 256-bit keys. Users can also create a password instead of using the keys; however, this method may be less secure, because passwords are usually easier to guess than keys. 

Asymmetric encryption is used for sending secured messages between multiple users. These messages are encrypted by both a public and a private key. The recipient can use the public key to verify the identity of the message sender and their private key to decrypt the message. Anyone who intercepts the message can not read it without the intended recipient’s private key. 

Types of Encryption

Full-disk or whole-disk encryption protects all folders, files and volumes on a system. This type of encryption does not require users to save files to a specific location on the disk. When this type of encryption is used, users must enter an encryption passcode or plug in a USB device with the encryption key when booting the computer. 

Individual folder and file encryption protects only the folders and files specified by the user. This method of encryption can be useful if your business only has a few files that need to be protected. Volume encryption protects one particular part of the disk. When this method is used, users must save data that needs to be encrypted to the specific encrypted volume.

Encryption Options

Some popular operating systems, such as Windows 10, have built-in encryption. There are also various third-party encryption programs. If you use a third-party program, choose one that is regularly updated and tested. 

Encryption Best Practices

Before you turn on encryption, back up your files and create an image backup. Make sure you have access to either your operating systems’ installation media or an emergency boot disk. When you are prompted to create a passcode or PIN, choose random letters and numbers and memorize them. Make it as long and complex as you can, but also something that you can remember. If you forget your passcode, you won’t be able to access anything that is encrypted on your computer. Store a written copy of your passcode and encryption key in separate, secure locations.

If your computer is connected to a Wi-Fi network, use Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 to protect data shared over that network. When accessing your network from a laptop or other mobile device, use a virtual private network for added security. 

You still need to utilize other security best practices on devices with encrypted data. It is better not to have your system breached at all, but using encryption makes it more difficult for someone who breaks into your system to steal your valuable data.

Encryption
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