The birth of the Internet has enabled an unparalleled level of information exchange across the world. Not only has it changed how we communicate and access information on a daily basis, but it has also fundamentally changed how the world does business.
The safe transmission, reception, and storage of data is an issue for all businesses, with data encryption playing an important role in every robust cybersecurity strategy.
What is data encryption?
Data encryption is the process of encoding a message in order to limit its access to authorized parties. In order to prevent prying eyes, a secret code is applied during data storage or transmission to scramble the data and make it unintelligible. At the other end when the data is received, a code key is applied to reverse the process. Data breaches have become normal today, so high-tech encryption is used to secure sensitive data and ensure privacy and compliance.
According to the latest Transparency Report from Google, data encryption for Google products and services has risen from just 48 percent coverage in late 2013 to 93 percent in 2019. Unfortunately, many cloud business services are well below this level. In separate data by the Ponemon Institute and nCipher Security, just 74 percent of businesses have partial or extensive public cloud encryption.
Let’s look at four key reasons why data encryption should form an important part of your cybersecurity strategy.
1. Compliance obligations
There are a wealth of government regulations and industry compliance standards around data security, especially for sensitive industries like healthcare and financial services. For example, healthcare providers must follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements for protection of sensitive patient information.
Similarly, education institutions must adhere to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and retailers are required to follow the Fair Credit Practices Act (FCPA). While community and compliance standards vary by countries and industries, data encryption often plays an important role in data protection and compliance coverage.
2. Cybercrime concerns
Whether it’s malware, phishing, or disruptive computer viruses, cybercrime is more prevalent than ever before. Data encryption is one the best ways to prevent hacking and keep your valuable information safe and secure. No industry or company size is immune to criminal activity, with hackers alwasy searching for sensitive financial information, health records, and trade secrets among other data.
End-to-end encryption is one of the best ways to safeguard against identity theft and other malicious activity, including public key infrastructure (PKI) encryption, homomorphic encryption, and other robust security measures.
3. Protecting user privacy
When you run a business, you are responsible for the personal data of your customers and employees. From financial and healthcare information, such as credit card numbers and insurance data, to staff names, addresses and birthdays, keeping internal user data private should always be a priority.
While encrypting user data will require extra system overhead, it is necessary to improve transparency and maintain customer satisfaction. The use of comprehensive data encryption is one of the major issues that define professional organizations, with a number of recent large-scale data breaches bringing this fundamental privacy issue into public focus.
4. Seamless performance
There are significant network management and system resource issues related to data encryption, with specific measures needed to ensure maximum performance. This concern is one of the main reasons so many businesses avoid data encryption. For example, complexities often arise around archiving, where data is difficult to encrypt due to existing indexing and search protocols. Similar issues exist with mobile devices, edge inspection, and authorized third-party access.
Despite the unintended consequences of data encryption, however, it doesn’t have to negatively affect performance. Successful data encryption often involves the use of cloud-based services, with simple website encryption protocols like secure sockets layer (SSL) combined with robust server-side encryption solutions.
Working with your managed IT services partner to add the right level of encryption to your data protection strategy can enhance your compliance and your peace of mind. Ease Tech is ready to advise you on where it makes sense to implement data encryption measures to further secure your cloud environment.