The Importance of Data Encryption
Whether your business has been around for decades or you’re just starting up, you face certain challenges when storing and organizing information. One of the most pressing challenges in today’s digital climate is data security. So much of your business’s information exists on a digital platform, increasing its accessibility within the company — but also leaving it vulnerable to new cyber threats. Data encryption is a way for your business to prevent data breaches and mitigate harm if they occur.
Kirbtech offers data encryption services for businesses around central Pennsylvania. We’re here to help you understand why it’s so important to encrypt your data.
What Is Data Encryption?
Data encryption is a digital security practice that hides information from those without sufficient authorization. Encryption creates parameters for entry. It is essentially a password that a computer must know before it can retrieve data from the server that contains it.
To encrypt data is to scramble its information into an unusable format. Data encryption leverages complex algorithms to make data inaccessible. An attacker may be able to see the file, but the encryption algorithm renders it useless.
Authorized users within your company will have the means to decipher the algorithm and view the data. Each authorized device on the network will know the code solves the encryption and converts the information back to its original format.
How Does Data Encryption Work?
Data encryption involves communication between a sender and a receiver. The information sender is the server or device that contains the information. The receiver is the device that requests access to the information. The data encryption code ensures the sender only provides information to an authorized receiver.
There are two types of data encryption codes — asymmetric and symmetric.
In asymmetric encryption, separate codes, or keys, aid in encryption and decryption. A public key encrypts the data. Authorized parties receive a private key that deciphers the information the public key scrambles. Knowing the public key alone is insufficient to access the data.
In symmetric encryption, one key exists for encryption and decryption. The server uses a code to hide the information. Devices that know that code can then access the information.
Why Is Data Encryption Important?
Data encryption is essential for any business operating in today’s digitally focused marketplace. Encrypting data will prepare your business for the real potential of a data breach, protect against the direct damages a breach would cause, and mitigate the indirect harm it could cause your organization.
Four traits highlight the importance of encryption.
The Potential for and Dangers of Cyberattacks
The first reason encryption is important is that digital data is vulnerable. That vulnerability can result in substantial damage.
Your data contains valuable information about your business, customers and employees. Cyberattackers want that information and have a range of tools at their disposal to obtain it. From hacking into your servers to deceiving your employees, cybercriminals may attempt to access your data in various ways. A data breach can be disastrous. Recent reporting from IBM shows that a data breach can cost a U.S. business $9.44 million on average.
Encryption can mitigate the real potential and harmful outcomes of a data breach. For that reason, encrypting files before storing or transferring them is crucial.
The Information Your Data Contains
Data encryption is also critical due to the type of information your servers contain. Your company keeps extensive records that cover everything from intellectual property to employee addresses and customer payment information.
The data your company possesses holds enough value to entice persistent attackers. Your business relies on its intellectual property to fulfill a unique role in the market. Employees and customers trust that their banking information is safe in your hands. A data breach could compromise sensitive data that leaves your business, staff and customers in vulnerable positions. Use data encryption to safeguard all valuable information.
The Protective Capabilities of Data Encryption
Data encryption’s effectiveness is another reason it’s so important. Data encryption is a proven way to prevent data interception and minimize damage from cyberattacks.
Implementing a data encryption strategy automatically makes data safer. A cybercriminal would need a specific code to access your data or an advanced tool that could decipher it. Even if the attacker breached your network, the data would be useless without the correct key.
Consider your network as a gated parking garage where each vehicle contains important data. Even if a thief were to breach the gate, they’d still need to find an unlocked car before stealing anything valuable. Running into an encryption code is like jiggling a handle and discovering the car is locked.
Encryption also protects data in the event of hardware theft. Stealing a device wouldn’t be enough to access its data — the thief would still require the user’s password to decrypt sensitive information. Using the parking garage analogy, a criminal might be able to move a locked car out of the lot, but they would still need the keys to get inside.
The Optics of Data Encryption
The final reason for data encryption’s importance is the extrinsic value it can provide your business. While encryption’s direct value is in its protective capabilities, it also improves your organization’s ability to attract and maintain customers.
Beyond raw protection, data encryption will improve your service capabilities. Data breaches inflict direct damage on the customers whose data is stolen, but that’s only the start. Your business will spend time picking up the pieces after a data breach, resulting in service disruptions and lost productivity. Encrypting data prevents the harm that comes with post-breach recovery.
Data encryption can also improve your company’s reputation. The consistent services your business provides under the protection of data encryption will ensure customer satisfaction and encourage retention. Happy customers will spread positive messages about your business, allowing you to maintain a positive reputation with existing and potential customers. Your sales team can use data encryption as a selling point when pursuing leads, boosting revenue in the process.
Data Encryption Applications
Company data takes numerous forms and travels across various channels. Data encryption is a versatile security method that you can use in most situations. Use an encryption key to protect the information your staff communicates over email or saves to hard drives and clouds. Data encryption can obscure information within PDF files, text documents, spreadsheets, images, videos and other types of files.
Some of the most important information to encrypt includes:
- Intellectual property
- Product release documents
- Product or market research data
- Employees’ personally identifiable information
- Customers’ personal and financial information
- Patient health information
- Hard drive backups
- Financial reports
- Branding assets
- Archived data
Outsource Data Encryption With Kirbtech
Data encryption is an effective security method that your business can benefit from implementing. When you encrypt your data behind a complex code, only those with the relevant decryption key will have access to the information the data represents.
At Kirbtech, we help small and midsized businesses in central Pennsylvania establish secure IT infrastructures. Our network management and managed IT experts use data encryption to control access to the information within your network and on each device. We offer competitive rates on premium services, so contact Kirbtech online to discuss our data encryption capabilities.