What is data encryption?

Data encryption and data breach

What is data encryption?

Data encryption is a method used to protect your data, messages, passwords, emails.

It transforms readable data, also called plain text into another form, or code that can only be accessed by those who have access to the secret key (formally called decryption key). Encrypted data is also called ciphertext.

Data encryption is one of the most used methods to protect data, either for companies or individuals. Data encryption is so popular due to its efficiency.

How data encryption works.

Data encryption is a process by the mean of an algorithm that encrypts your data with a key. That key is generated for the data to be decrypted later.

Decryption is the inverse o encryption, it follows the same steps but reversing the order the keys are applied.

The most used encryption algorithms are: symmetric and asymmetric.

Data encryption worksData encryption types

Symmetric-key, also known as “secret key”, use a key that the system doing the encryption must share with any user it intends to able to decrypt the encrypted data. The most used symmetric key cipher is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), this key cipher what designed to protect government classified information.

Asymmetric cryptography, also known as public key cryptography, uses two mathematically different linked keys, one public and one private.

The public key can be shared with anyone, the private key must be secret.

The Rivest–Shamir–Adleman (RSA) encryption algorithm is the most used key algorithm because both public and private keys can be used to encrypt a message.

This method provides confidentiality, but also the integrity, authenticity of electronic communications.

Benefits and importance of encryption

If you collect and keep sensitive data about you or your customers, there is always a risk of data breach. It’s important to keep the data safe and protect it at maximum effort because the personal data is valuable intellectual property. Imagine if a malicious person has access to a credit card number from one of your customers or yourself.

That is why you should encrypt all the data stored, it decreases the potential threats and security issues. Since only the person with the key can access the data.

No matter where your data is stored, laptop, USB drive, online server, data encryption protects your documents and personal information. If for example your laptop is stolen or lost (we hope not), the data within it can’t be accessed by anyone keeping it safe.

Data encryption also brings benefits like:

  • Authentication: the origin of a message can be verified.
  • Integrity: proof that the contents of a message have not been changed since it was sent.
  • Non-repudiation: the sender of a message cannot deny sending the message.

data encryption benefits

With the new GDPR laws, companies that operate in EU fields should enforce the data protection of the customers. By means of a DPO or internally you should keep the data well protected.

Data encryption is a solid measure to keep the data well protected from possible breaches.


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