The Importance of Encryption in Protecting Sensitive Data

Web based ftp client

Data security is a growing concern for companies all over the world, especially with rates of cybercrime jumping through the roof this year. One of the main ways that hackers are able to steal private company and customer information is by intercepting it as it is transferred through various data delivery methods. FTP, or file transfer protocol, is one of the most popular data delivery methods used by companies, but it does not provide secure file transfer services. SFTP, or secure file transfer service, solved this security issue by providing a secure stream through which data can be transferred. Encryption is also a key component of this method, but what exactly does that mean?

What is Encryption?

Cryptography is a field that has been around for years, helping military personnel both hide and decode secret messages to ward off prying enemy eyes. This practice of securing communications is the basis of encryption, which is a modern form of disguising data to protect sensitive information from being stolen. During the encryption process, a secret key is used to scramble a message so that it is undecipherable to anyone without the key. Users that know the secret key are able to unscramble the message so that it can be clearly understood. With a encryption, even a message that is intercepted by an unauthorized cannot be decoded without the key, protecting the information from the threat of cybercrime.

Symmetric vs Asymmetric Encryption

Two different ways of encrypting a message are through symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Symmetric encryption involves only one secret key, which is used to both encrypt and decrypt (decode) the message. While this does provide some security, symmetric encryption is not considered the most protective form of encryption because someone who discovers the key can then open any messages encrypted with this key. Asymmetric encryption uses a private and public key, making it a more secure method. The private key is known only by one person and must be used to decrypt the message. The public key is made available to anyone to allow them to encrypt messages. The two keys form a pair, therefore messages encrypted by a certain public key can only be decrypted with the matching private key.

Encryption is an important technique for securing messages over various data delivery methods and can ensure that private information is kept private. With so many more instances of cybercrime this year, boosting security efforts through techniques like encryption is a wise idea for any company. More research here.