Data is one of the most valuable assets to any business and it needs utmost security to be protected from theft and any other miss usage. To protect your data from unauthorized access, data encryption is one of the best available protections. Data encryption protects your data by converting the plain-text information into an unreadable form that can be accessed only by an authorized user with the proper decryption key.
Though, in the current situation, when cybercriminals are always active to invent new techniques of data theft, none of the security measures is fool-proof or impenetrable. But, there are some crucial practices to follow to mitigate the risk of cybercrimes.
Which data needs to be encrypted?
Tough all data can be encrypted but it is not essential for every data to be encrypted for security. When data is stored in a static location like a disk or when it is being transferred over the network, data encryption is a good practice. The data can be encrypted on any type of operating system. Data can be encrypted when stored in file systems or on block data or on a bare-metal server. Data can also be encrypted in a virtual machine or on a virtual disk.
Data encryption algorithms and tools
A data algorithm is a specific process that is used to encrypt and decrypt data. Like other, the data encryption algorithms are also evolved over time and the most popular encryption algorithms of current days are
- Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm
- Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) algorithm
- Triple Data Encryption Standard (DES) algorithm
- Twofish algorithm
All of these algorithms have their own benefits at encrypting certain types of data than others. The organizations need to choose a specific algorithm depending on the data type, infrastructure, and location where they want to encrypt the data.
Most encryption algorithms can perform the best with supporting tools. Similarly, like different encryption algorithms, some of the encryption tools are faster than others, and some are better at performing encryption and decryption of certain types of data. There are multiple open-source encryption tools also such as LastPass, BitLocker, VeraCrypt, FileVault 2, DiskCryptor, AxCrypt, and so on.
Best practices for data protection
Here are some of the principles that can help you to encrypt your data securely and efficiently:
1. Create a security strategy to protect data
The security strategy for a business may vary depending on the size of your business. For larger enterprises with many users, the cloud servers are the preferred option to store their encrypted data, whereas, the smaller businesses can use their workstations for data storage. Some of the important criteria to create the best security strategy for your organization are:
Choose the right encryption tool: Opt for the most suitable encryption tool as per the data type, data volume, and business needs. It is essential to choose the encryption tool for fast and perfect data encryption.
Choose the best encryption algorithm for your business: It is important to go to the vendor who can offer opt technologies or algorithms for your business that meets international standards.
Use reliable key management: Establish a standard procedure to figure out ways to generate, store, and replace encryption keys. You also have to be ready with strategies to destroy the encryption keys in case of a security breach.
Access Management: A standard strategy needs to be in place to track irregularities or identify unauthorized access to your encryption keys.
Fast Data encryption: You need to work with your partner managed IT services to find tools that can encrypt your files faster without compromising on security. Encryption time is also very crucial, especially when you have to send it over the network urgently.
2. Protect your data in transit
It is an easier job to protect your data when those are stored in your system or on a dedicated server compared to when the files are in transit. Since the data is moving back and forth from different locations is a very common event, the best practice in to use a Virtual private network (VPN) to hide the IP address and keep your data safe. Some of the common reasons to use a VPN service while transferring data are:
- Use of a VPN service enables you to create an encrypted connection between your device and the internet to hide all your online activities.
- VPN services have security protocols to safeguard your devices and data against cyber-attacks on public Wi-Fi.
- It offers secured access from workstations to your storage devices
There are IT infrastructure consulting services to help you incorporate VPN services in your organization
3. Choose the right kind of data to encrypt
It is essential to determine which data you need to be encrypted for maximum security. Sensitive information like names, contact details, credit card details, social security numbers, and other customers’ information are examples of vital data that need to be encrypted. Similarly, the files that you need to transfer over a network or access remotely also need encryption.
4. Controlled access to data
For better data protection, you can also go for department-wise data access. For example, your financial information should only be accessed by employees of the finance department or your marketing should enjoy the access to customer details, and so on.
5. Develop a data backup strategy
To have a data recovery plan or backup strategy is essential in the event of data loss or theft. You can take the help of your IT partner companies to have the suitable software for backup. It is also important to keep your decryption keys in a safe and secure place along with backup. It is good to maintain a centralized key management system to ease the risk of isolation.
Make sure that your encryption strategy must support data migration. This will be helpful if you plan to shift to the cloud. Your backup strategy should third-party technology integration to keep you open for new business opportunities without compromising on security.
Data encryption is a continuous process and it is good to be careful about the effectiveness of your data encryption strategy to enhance it over time. The above mentioned data encryption practices can be helpful to safeguard your sensitive files and prevent leaks.