In our modern world, most people transmit some amount of data every single day. From browsing the internet, making online purchases, or posting to social media, personal information is constantly transmitted across the web. Whether it’s a person’s web history or more personal information such as address details or credit card numbers, this information must be protected from those who intend to steal valuable data. Data encryption is essential to ensure that data stays secure and out of the wrong hands, and is essential every time data is transmitted.
What is Data Encryption?
Data encryption is the process by which websites protect a user’s data. This process starts when any data, known as plaintext, is uploaded. The information is then passed through an algorithm that scrambles the message before sending it to the receiving party. Once the data has been encrypted, also known as cyphertext at this point, it is sent to the receiving party, where a cryptographic key is used to decrypt the information securely.
Types of Data Encryption
Today, there are two types of data encryption that are most common: symmetric and asymmetric encryption. The factor that differentiates the two methods are how they use keys to encrypt and decrypt data. In symmetric encryption, the encryption and decryption processes both use the same key. This process differs from asymmetric encryption that uses different keys to encrypt and decrypt the data.
How is Data Used?
Data can be used in a variety of ways. While some data is intentionally provided by users, such as when making an online purchase, it is often collected and used without the user’s knowledge. Search engines and social media platforms, for example, collect data on search histories or user demographics. Businesses typically use this data to determine who they should market their products to based on interests or demographics.
While it may seem invasive for companies to use a person’s search history and demographic data, it is all done to match products with customers who would be most interested in the products or services. Data theft, on the other hand, takes place when data that wasn’t meant to be shared is taken and used against users for malicious purposes. When someone’s information is taken, it can be used to commit fraud, identity theft, and other damaging situations. Data encryption helps to prevent these malicious activities by scrambling the information that requires a key to decipher.
Why is Data Encryption Essential?
While we’ve already mentioned the importance of keeping personal user data out of the wrong hands, it is still important to recognize why the need for data encryption only continues to grow. Technology is ever-growing and continues to become more intertwined with our daily routines. We have seen reasons such as the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting large numbers of devices on networks continue to expand and share data, business professionals are using mobile connections, and high-profile companies experience data breaches. Data encryption is an essential piece to helping secure these networks and helping to prevent data breaches.
What Can You Do?
Data encryption is just the beginning when working towards digital security. When looking to protect data, several steps can be taken to obtain strong data security.
- Secure Your Network
- Encrypt Your Data
- Conduct Cybersecurity Training
- Secure Devices
Conducting a risk assessment is an excellent place to begin when working towards optimizing a digital security strategy. At Aliado Solutions, our team of experts will work with you to identify any risks, gaps, or issues in your network using a methodical data gathering approach. Once identified, we’ll work with you on the next steps and action items to help get your digital network fortified against data breaches and malware. Contact us today and discover how we can help you keep your data secure.