What is Encryption? Why is Encryption Important?

By NE Docs | February 25, 2015

What is Encryption Why is Encryption Important

As of late, it is not uncommon to turn on the news and hear about yet another large data breach or hack. Most likely the hack occurred at some familiar business, and it may have even exposed your information in the process. From the infamous Heartbleed Bug, to more recent hacks against Home Depot and Anthem, it would appear that data encryption and security is needed more than ever.

What is encryption exactly?

Simply put, encryption is the process in which data is protected so that any unauthorized parties cannot decipher and access the information. The data is altered so that others cannot read it without the proper key or cipher.

Why is this important?

You do not want any of your company data to be susceptible to cyber criminals! Encryption is often your last line of defense when protecting your organization against malicious hackers looking to violate your privacy and gain access to sensitive data.

While data encryption cannot guarantee the safety of your information, it does provide an added level of security to deter potential thieves. In order to truly safeguard your data, it is important that you encrypt all of your digital data regardless of its current state. This might include:

  • Encrypting data as it is processed, created, or stored on servers
  • Encrypting data copied to digital media, including CDs, USBs, or even hard drives
  • Encrypting emails and other high risk communications
  • Encrypting management systems

There are several common encryption algorithms used to safeguard data. However, what is most important is keeping encryption keys a secret.

Some common encryption methods include:

  • Triple DES: Originally designed to replace the first Data Encryption Standard (DES) algorithm, the Triple DES uses 3 individual keys with 56 bits each.
  • RSA: This is the standard for encrypting data over the internet, and uses a pair of keys (one public, one private)
  • Blowfish: Another algorithm designed to replace the original DES, this 64 bit algorithm is known for its speed and effectiveness.
  • Twofish: The younger brother of Blowfish, Twofish uses keys up to 256 bits in length. Twofish is extraordinarily fast and ideal for both hardware and software applications.
  • AES: Also known as the Advanced Encryption Standard is the standard used by the United Stated Government and other organizations. AES is considered to be almost impervious to attack and has been hailed as the go to standard for any encryption in the private sector.

Note: Encryption is not the same as encoding! While encoding is also used to alter information, it is generally done for the sake of storage or transmission. However, encoding does not provide the safety measures to hide data.

Unfortunately, many companies fail to practice safe and proven encryption practices – potentially exposing their organizations to unnecessary risks. This is why New England Document Systems goes above and beyond to keep your data safe, as we are committed to providing a truly secure document conversion service.

 

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