One of the most effective methods for protecting your network data is past secure encryption. Just like you lock the doors to the crucial spaces in your business to avert an intrusion, you need to do the same with your network data via encryption. Except for locking a physical door, encryption places rules-based algorithms as heavy-duty data guards that flank your data to protect it from hackers.
Once hackers learn that you are keeping your businesses’ data unencrypted, you become an easy target for them to sneak in and steal it from right under your nose. The damage of having your company’s sensitive data hacked can have severe effects on your payroll, even trickling down to damaging your client’s cash flow if you’re not careful.
In short, file and disk encryption is to protect any stored data on your computer or network. If your business collects identifiable information such as names, birthdates, or financial information from clients or customers. This information is to be secured for you to maintain compliance with various organizations and committees. If your organization is storing PII and it gets stolen or the information is leaked, you can be held liable for the massive fines.
For these reasons, it’s a good practice to encrypt your sensitive data, if not your entire hard drive. If you decide to use encryption algorithms to secure your network data, just make sure you don’t think of it as a ‘set it and forget it’ type of solution. Remember that disk encryption doesn’t protect a computer entirely because it is stored in a physical location (like a server).
It is for this reason numerous businesses look to use cloud-based platforms to keep their data safe. Even this is not a 100% secure solution that you should consider to be turnkey from start to finish (even private clouds are no strangers to being compromised). Hackers can still access your data over an insecure network connection or via a malicious link from an email phishing campaign.
Encrypting your company’s sensitive data when it's stored in the cloud can reduce the risk of data theft. Encryption functions through algorithms that convert data into unique, complex codes that seem nearly impossible for even supercomputers to crack.
In simpler terms, encryption allows your data to be accessed and decrypted by someone with the correct key.
The key benefit of cloud encryption is that it keeps sensitive data in a read-only state that only authorized parties with access to the necessary keys can decrypt. When data is started to store in the cloud, encryption protects it if a provider, account, or system is compromised.
Cloud encryption gives companies the ability to maintain a proactive defense against data breaches and cyberattacks and has become a necessity in today’s data-driven world. It also allows businesses to meet their industry and regulatory compliance requirements like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and EI3PA being a few.
Around 45% of companies polled in a 2019 survey said they have an encryption strategy applied consistently across their enterprise. If your organization functions within a cloud infrastructure, you first need to map your security needs for your cloud deployment and any data that's going to be stored on the cloud. Ensure that you inventory all sensitive data sources so you are aware of what needs to be encrypted with which level of bit-key securities.
If, for example, your company is building a website based in the cloud, then you will need to give engineers and manufacturers the ability to share source code and design documents amongst themselves. To secure the sensitive data that they would need to share, you would need to implement end-to-end encryption protection via one of the several methods mentioned in this article. Even though some cloud providers have some level of encryption, having your internal encryption in place will ensure that even if your account or the cloud storage provider is compromised, your data will be secure in the cloud.
Best practice dictates that businesses should be storing their encryption keys separately from the encrypted data to ensure proper cloud data security is achieved. Make sure to store all backups in an offsite location that can be accessed by authorized individuals for audit purposes. You can also set keys to expire automatically after a set amount of time or periodically refresh your keys if they’re close to their expiration date.
If you’re looking to add another layer of defense to your encryption keys, implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for both the master and recovery keys. Doing may add another step when you look to call for the data, but it can give your business the type of peace of mind and data protection that stakeholders crave as they transition to the cloud.
Encryption is essential to cybersecurity today, with encryption of personally identifiable information (PII) being a top priority for organizations large and small, to protect customers and avoid fines and penalties after data breaches. But maintaining large-scale cloud encryption systems is a very challenging task. This is especially true when we want to achieve high-grade Network Security and Data Auditability in an IT architecture that is either decentralized or geographically distributed.
This is why it is crucial to have a plan in place to implement and maintain symmetric or public-key encryption algorithms to ensure proper compliance. If your business is not on top of your cloud encryption, take a proactive stance on actively decreasing your threat of a data breach. Then it will be difficult to deter a hacker from gaining access to your sensitive data.
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