It is essential to understand what data is if you want to know what the data encryption process means. In simple words, data can be defined as any piece of information, which has been transformed into a binary format for easily moving and processing it.
The availability of fast internet connections and the rise in smartphone usage have resulted in more digital data. Some of the most common examples of digital data include audio, video, text, log activity records, and more.
Data proliferation in agencies, organizations, and governments has emphasized data integrity and data quality. Another essential thing to remember is that data breaches have become quite rampant over the years. This is why businesses must focus on data quality and data integrity.
A recent report shared by IBM revealed that the cost of data breaches increased from 3.86 million dollars to 4.24 million dollars in 2021. The report also indicated that the average data breach cost in 2021 is the highest in their report history. Fortunately, data encryption can help you reduce the risk of data breaches.
A Beginner’s Guide To Data Encryption
Data encryption can be described as the process or procedure of scrambling plaintext data into an undecipherable format called ciphertext. The process of data encryption will make the data unreadable to individuals without decryption keys.
In simple words, data encryption helps businesses and individuals to protect their data whether it is in transit or at rest during data transfer. As mentioned earlier, encryption will make the data useless and unreadable if it accidentally ends up in the wrong hands.
Businesses must understand that competent key management and robust data encryption tools will safeguard sensitive and confidential business data. This is one of the major reasons why data encryption is considered as one of the critical elements of cybersecurity strategies.
Encrypting Your Data
Several businesses still do not clearly understand how data encryption can help them. If you are among them, you need to understand that data encryption comes at absolutely no or zero cost. This means that you do not have to spend a fortune to ensure your valuable business and customer data are safe.
If you have a business website, you must ensure that the site is running on HTTPS and not HTTP. Websites that are running on HTTPS will have an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate. SSL certificates serve the crucial function of protecting your sensitive and confidential data from hackers and cybercriminals.
Businesses that want to encrypt the in-transit communications between website visitors and servers may do that by purchasing an SSL certificate. You can easily invest in the most suited kind of SSL certificates that fit within your budget from trusted certificate providers without any hassles. While making a choice, you need to zero down on certain factors. The cost, of course, the number of subdomains and domains to be secured, the validation level needed, and future expansion plans. Seems too much to digest? Allow us to help you. If you are an ecommerce webshop owner, we suggest that you buy wildcard SSL as this will ensure premium security for an unlimited number of level one subdomains under the selected main domain that too at no additional cost!
How Does The Process Of Data Encryption Work
Data encryption algorithms used today do a lot more than concealing sensitive business data from unauthorized individuals. These modern data encryption algorithms ensure that the origin of data will be authenticated and maintain data integrity throughout the transmission stage.
As discussed earlier, the process of data encryption works by scrambling information and data into a set of unrecognizable and random characters. The scrambled data will be transmitted to the receiver, who will have the decryption key for transforming the ciphertext into its original form.
Types Of Data Encryption Techniques
There are different types of data encryption techniques used by businesses and others to protect their data. That said, there are three popular data encryption techniques: hashing, asymmetric encryption, and symmetric encryption.
Symmetric encryption is one of the famous and straightforward data encryption techniques, which uses just one key for data encryption and decryption. The private or secret key can be in the form of a letter, number, or a combination of random letters and numbers.
Both the recipient and sender of the data or information will have the same key for symmetric encryption. That said, one of the major downfalls of this type of symmetric encryption is that both parties will have to exchange the secret keys before data decryption is completed.
Asymmetric encryption, also called public-key encryption, uses two keys (public key and private key) to convert plain data into ciphertext. The private key will be used for data decryption, while the public key will be used for data encryption.
Information regarding the private key will be shared with both the receiver and sender. The process of asymmetric encryption will ensure that no cybercriminal or hacker will be able to decipher, intercept, or read the original encrypted data with the help of a public key.
Hashing is another common type of data encryption method, which creates a unique signature for a specific information set. It is important to remember that data encrypted through hashing cannot be transformed back into its original form. This is why hashing is primarily used for data verification.
Indeed, several experts in the field of cybersecurity do not consider hashing as a data encryption technique. That said, hashing is undoubtedly an excellent way to ensure that data is not tampered with by anyone during the transmission process.
A study conducted by Security.org revealed that one out of four Americans prefers not to do business with companies that have suffered data breaches. One of the most significant consequences of data breaches is that they will have a more significant impact on customer loyalty and trust.
For instance, Yahoo, which experienced one of the most significant data breaches that impacted nearly 3 billion users, had to reduce their sales price, pay a fine of 35 million dollars, and a settlement of 80 million dollars. Moreover, Yahoo was also surprised by other email service providers and search engines in the following years.
Businesses that implement essential data protection measures such as encryption will not just prevent the chances of data breaches; they can also avoid the loss of money, reputation, and customer trust.