Data encryption refers to the procedure of converting readable text on a computer or smartphone into an encoded format. Only the end-users who have the relevant decryption key can decipher the text to its proper form. It is the fundamental basis of data security and ensures unscrupulous individuals do not access sensitive information. This allows companies to manage, store, or transmit critical data in their in-house or cloud-based servers. It could relate to the personal details of their customers, trading partners, employees, business, or banking transactions. They can ensure it will not fall into the wrong hands. This is why they need to know how to keep their vital business data secure and private with data encryption services.
What does data encryption involve?
Data encryption takes a text message and transforms it into an illegible format. This is known as cipher text. This ensures that the companies store in their computer servers or transmit any data via the Internet confidential. The recipient to whom the information is being sent can convert it to its proper readable format. This is known as decryption. To decode the original text message, both the companies and recipients agree on using a secret key. It can be a series of algorithms which encodes and decodes the data into its proper readable format. This way, hackers will not be able to understand the text message even if they access it.
Reasons for data encryption for your database
The primary reasons why companies and other end-users need to use data encryption techniques for databases are as follows:
- It allows them to keep their vital online business data secure and confidential,
- They can suffer considerable financial losses when hackers can steal their sensitive information, and
- Companies have to take measures to protect the personal data of their stakeholders as statutory government regulations.
How do hackers commit cybercrimes using ransomware?
Companies and end-users need to understand data encryption procedures help them to protect their vital information. However, cybercriminals with the necessary skills can use the same safety measures against them. They do so by installing their servers and IT infrastructure with malicious software called ransomware. The malware prevents them from getting access to their vital business data. The cyber attackers then demand a huge ransom from their victims for obtaining the decryption key. In the worst-case scenario, companies might find their entire commercial operations might come to a standstill. Fortunately, they can protect their vital data and IT infrastructure from potential ransomware attacks. For this, they need to implement the following steps:
- Install the latest data encryption software program on all their database servers, infrastructure, and smartphone,
- Always upgrade the encryption software to prevent likely ransomware attacks,
- Avoid opening unknown email attachments through which hackers can install their malware,
- Companies should regularly transfer their vital business data to secondary external hard drive as a backup,
- Consider using cloud-based services as vendors of these facilities always retain the previous versions of their clients’ files,
- Do not yield to cybercriminals’ demands on paying the ransom money to obtain the decryption key.
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Types of data encryption techniques
Companies can choose from the following data encryption techniques depending on their specific needs and budget:
- Triple data encryption standards (DES)encode, decode, and then encrypt their data offering three layers of protection,
- RSA which employs complex algorithms to encrypt the data they need to transmit to others,
- Advanced encryption standards(ASE) which companies around the world have been using since inception by the American Government in 2002,and
- Use a quality fastest data encryption algorithm that is generally free of cost
Using SSL for data encryption
Most companies maintaining legitimate business websites employ secure socket layers (SSL) when they transmit data online. It prevents cybercriminals from accessing the information when it is being sent via the Internet. They need to click on the padlock icon present in the URL bar before adding’s’ to the ‘https: //.’ This ensures a safe and encrypted online transaction. End-users and companies might find it convenient to click on websites having SSL encryption when:
- When they have to transmit or store their sensitive data online while paying taxes or renewing licenses, and
- When the tasks they carry out in their work requires them to follow encryption protocols.
How can companies create a data encryption strategy for their businesses?
Companies should consider the following tips when formulating a security strategy to protect their business data:
- Understand and comply with the government’s statutory regulations when handling personal online data of their stakeholders,
- Only use the latest data encryption tools which meet their specific requirements,
- Ensure the algorithms and security technologies the use of the tool meets all relevant international standards,
- Determine ways to generate, store, alter, replace and delete encryption keys when the need arises,
- Conduct regular data audits to identify any irregularities or access without authorization,
- Determine which sensitive business data is vulnerable to loss, damage or corruption,
- Determine which employees need access to encryption keys depending on work they do,
- Regularly monitor how the employees use the sensitive data they have access to,
- They should conceal their online activities when using VPNs to create a secure connection between their servers and the Internet.
- Activate all necessary security protocols when using virtual private networks (VPNs) to transmit data,
- Ensure the IP addresses continuously change when transmitting files and data via VPNs,
- Prepare and implement a backup plan to ensure all vital data and decryption keys are safe.
Companies need to realize data encryption becomes vital as their commercial operations continue to expand. They should be in a position to protect their sensitive business information from potential cybercriminals. They even can meet statutory regulations the government lays down when handling their stakeholders’ data. In doing so, companies can choose to use SSL, RSA triple, or advanced data encryption standards. The data encryption technology they opt for will depend on their specific needs and budget. Only then can they avert potential financial losses and retain their online reputation in the market.