One of the best ways to keep unauthorized entities from accessing your data is through encryption.
Encryption typically uses one cryptographic key or two encryption keys (a public key and a private/secret key) to encrypt data so it can’t be accessed unless someone has that same key to decrypt the information.
Cryptographic keys take plain text and use a series of mathematical values to scramble that text, so to the reader it just looks like a bunch of random letters, numbers, or symbols. But with the key, it returns to the original readable text format.
Types of encryption include:
- Symmetric encryption: This uses only one key for both the encryption and decryption.
- Asymmetric encryption: Uses two keys (public and private) for the encryption and decryption. Asymmetric encryption is used in the SSL technology used to keep websites secure, noted by the HTTPS in the URL.
32% of US businesses don’t properly implement SSL and only 45% of companies have a uniform encryption plan.
What’s the Purpose of Encryption?
Encryption prevents data from being accessed if your network or cloud file storage is breached or if a mobile device or laptop is lost or stolen.
You can also protect sensitive data being emailed by encrypting the email contents and attachments.
Encrypting data is one of the high-level safeguards that’s an important part of a cybersecurity strategy. The problem is that many companies aren’t sure how to use it or where it should fit into their business workflow.
So, it often goes unused, which can leave vital company files exposed in the case of a data breach.
Where You Can Beef Up IT Security Through Encryption
Laptop Hard Drive Encryption
Imagine a thief has your accounting person’s laptop, which was stolen from a briefly unattended bag. They could potentially access your company bank accounts and multiple sensitive records.
Now imagine that thief opens the laptop and can’t even get the operating system to boot up correctly. If they try to copy the drive data to another device, they end up with nothing but scrambled characters. That’s the protection that hard drive encryption can provide.
For any company laptops that hold or have access to sensitive data, you should consider hard drive encryption. These solutions will encrypt everything on a device, so no one else can access any data without the decryption key. The employee simply uses either a passcode to decrypt the drive or a physical USB device with the key to unlock the data.
Website Data Encryption (aka SSL)
Google now uses site security as a ranking signal for search engine results, and web browsers now make it obvious when you’ve landed on an unsecure site, without an SSL certificate. This can immediately make a website visitor wary of your site.
It’s important to add encryption through an SSL certificate to your company website to ensure any data that is transmitted through forms is properly encrypted for the safety of the web visitor. If you have an ecommerce site, SSL is an absolute must! Some shopping cart programs will not even work without that encryption security in place.
Encryption of Email in Outlook
Companies that have a certain level of Microsoft 365 subscription can use email encryption in Outlook.
This feature allows users to encrypt emails before they’re sent out, including the text of the email and any attachments. Recipients are instructed how to decrypt and read the message (they don’t need to also use Microsoft 365).
How do you tell employees which emails to encrypt?
One of the smartest ways to set up email encryption in Microsoft 365 is through the use of sensitivity labels. These can be designated based upon the keywords of a message or as a default by administrators based upon certain document criteria.
You set up a sensitivity label, say “Highly Sensitive,” to automatically apply encryption. When any document or email has that label attached, the contents are encrypted without any additional human intervention. This streamlines your process and removes elements of human error in deciding what email should or should not be encrypted.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
With the rise of mobile and remote teams, companies have less control over the networks that their business data is being transmitted through. One employee may send a sensitive email while they’re on a public Wi-Fi at a Starbucks. Another might have a less-than-secure home Wi-Fi.
You can encrypt all those connections, no matter how secure the wireless network is, by using a business VPN.
A virtual private network reroutes a user’s connections through the VPN’s servers and encrypts all data transmissions to prevent data leakage and breaches.
Put Encryption to Work for You With Help from Neuron Computers
Neuron Computers can help your San Fernando Valley area business utilize encryption in a way that naturally fits into your workflows and increases your overall data protection.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 1-833-4-NEURON or reach us online.