In our increasingly connected world where personal data, confidential information and private conversations are constantly in transit and being stored digitally, the risks of being hacked are always present. Encrypting your data becomes essential to ensure secure connections and protect all types of information against unauthorized access.
What is data encryption?
Data encryption, also called encoding, is a cybersecurity measure that consists in transforming information into an illegible format using an algorithm. The main purpose of encrypting information is to protect confidential communications, online transactions and the integrity of critical data when it is being stored, transmitted or exchanged on public internet networks. When coded this way, data becomes impossible to read for anyone who does not have the correct decryption key.
Encryption is crucial for securing transfers between users, particularly Web servers, where data can be easily intercepted by hackers. It protects emails, text messages, voicemail, etc. A number of laws also require that certain sensitive data be protected by security measures including encryption. For example, Bill 25 in Québec and draft Bill C-27 impose strict requirements regarding the protection of personal data.
What are the methods for encrypting data?
It is important to know that the best way to encrypt data mainly depends on the context and the level of security required. There are different methods for encrypting data at rest (stored) or in motion (in transit).
Encrypting data at rest:
- Disk encryption: This method consists of digitizing an entire hard drive or storage device thereby making all information recorded illegible without the appropriate decryption key.
- File encryption: Rather than encoding an entire disk, it is possible to encrypt individual files or specific folders. It can be particularly useful to save them without encrypting the entire system.
- Database encryption: This type of encryption allows you to protect information by encoding it as it is being stored in a database.
Encrypting data in transit :
- HTTPS protocol: When you are browsing online, HTTPS protocol is used to protect communication between your browser and your server. It encrypts the data being transmitted including login details and other essential records.
- VPN (Virtual Private Network): VPNs are used to create secure connections between remote storage devises and a private network. Data is encrypted before being transferred on public internet lines thereby ensuring secure communication.
- Secure messaging protocols: These protocols encrypt communications such as emails or text messages to guarantee that only the sender and receiver can read them.
- Wi-Fi encryption: Using WPA2 or WPA3 encryption (or other Wi-Fi security protocols) ensures that data being transmitted between devices and wireless routers is encrypted.
In other words, encryption is necessary to protect the confidentiality and integrity of data whether it is being stored on disks, transmitted through networks or exchanged between users. Without this practice, information would be vulnerable to attacks and privacy infringements putting the security of individuals and organizations at risk.
As a managed services provider, we can assist you to develop encryption strategies and protocols adapted to your company’s needs. Speak with one of our MicroAge representatives. Together we will be able to assess potential solutions to optimize your infrastructure security.