Incidents of data breaches and cyberattacks are becoming far too common in today’s society. Hackers can sell stolen information on the dark web or use it to blackmail organizations. That’s why businesses of all sizes need to protect their data and keep it secure at all times. Encryption offers one of the most effective ways to protect personal and confidential information from hackers and other online threat actors.
As cybersecurity continues to make headlines in the business world, more organizations are turning to encryption technology to keep confidential information safe from hackers. Encryption technology can help businesses protect personal information, credit card numbers, employee files, trade secrets, and customer data. Read on to learn more about the advantages of encryption technology for your business.
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Simply put, encryption refers to the process of scrambling information via cryptography to make it unreadable to unauthorized parties. Only people with the correct decryption key or password can read the data. In the event of a data breach, the hackers will not be able to make sense of the encrypted data. Encryption should be used together with other security measures such as a firewall for the best protection.
Ways through Which Businesses Can Encrypt Data
The business world is quickly moving towards virtualization and cloud environments. It’s imperative for organizations to retain control over their data in these settings, and that’s where encryption comes in. Encryption can help organizations secure data at rest and in transit. At rest, data is data that is not moving and is stored through hardware such as computers, external hard drives, or via software in the cloud.
Data in transit refers to information moving from one location to another, either within a private network or across the internet. Businesses can encrypt data at rest or in transit through numerous ways. Computers, mobile devices, apps, and online services rely on encryption to secure data online. Email and messaging services, for instance, use encryption technology to ensure private and secure communications.
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is also a form of traffic encryption. VPNs are essential for privacy and security on the internet. Organizations can use a VPN to encrypt traffic and protect their online presence from hackers and prying eyes. If hackers, the government, your ISP, or your network administrator managed to intercept your traffic, it would be unreadable hence unusable for them.
Why Encryption is Important for Businesses
In the modern business world, encryption is not necessary; it’s expected. Encryption can help your business achieve data privacy, compliance, and flexibility. The need for encryption is important now more than ever. In this section, we look at some of the benefits of encryption technology for your business.
Encryption Improves Data Security
Today, organizations are storing and managing vast amounts of sensitive and confidential information. Since most organizations conduct their business over the internet, there is always the risk of sensitive company data falling into the wrong hands. Encryption is one of the best ways for businesses to protect sensitive information from hackers.
As stated earlier in the article, encryption can protect data at rest or in transit. At rest, Full Disk Encryption (FDE) tools such as Bitlocker and FileVault allow businesses to encrypt the entire OS drive and other drives mounted to company computers. Most email clients, including Gmail and Outlook, use a standard Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect your data in transit.
Encryption takes plain text (unencrypted data) and converts it into an unreadable format known as ciphertext. You need a password to decrypt the data and make it readable again. Encryption is necessary for all organizations, regardless of the type of data your business deals with. Think of it as a failsafe. If hackers were to breach your system and make away with sensitive data, it would be scrambled and unusable.
Data Encryption Augments Compliance
Encryption can help your business meet compliance requirements. Some data protection regulations, such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), mandate the encryption of sensitive information. If a portable device or removable storage media containing unencrypted patient health information is lost or stolen, the company responsible for the information could be forced to pay hefty fines.
Does your business process, store, or transmit credit card information? The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has strict security standards to ensure the safety of the cardholder’s data. Encryption is an essential part of the PCI Data Security Standard. If your business accepts credit cards, you must be in compliance with PCI Data Security Standard. While not all data security standards require encryption, it’s highly recommended.
Data Encryption Provides a Competitive Edge
Data encryption guarantees consistent protection for information at rest and in transit. According to a research by the Ponemon Institute, the vast majority of businesses have implemented some form of encryption strategy. Therefore, your business could lag behind the competition if it fails to prioritize encryption. In a cutthroat world of business, having a data encryption strategy could provide a competitive advantage.
Encryption Supports Data Integrity
Encryption increases the integrity of your data. If you trust your data, you will be able to use it confidently to make business decisions. Encryption alone will not guarantee data integrity, but it should be part of your overall strategy to ensure that you have access to high-quality data. High-quality information will help your organization track trends in your industry, learn more about your clientele, and generate valuable insights.
Encryption Can Help to Protect Remote Workers
Many organizations are still employing work from home arrangements to stay operational during the pandemic. Remote working intensifies the risk of data breaches since organizations have limited control over how remote workers access and share information. Encryption offers a way to protect confidential information when working remotely. All data should be encrypted properly.
Cybersecurity is a constant nightmare for businesses of all sizes. Cybercriminals are getting smarter and regulations more stringent. Data encryption can help your business improve security, meet compliance requirements, and increase your data integrity. Better data security will, in turn, help you gain a competitive advantage and expand your business.