As time goes on and technology advances, organizations are finding that they must secure more and more sensitive data. Business leaders must ensure that data security and privacy remain a top priority to protect and defend from costly data breaches — as well as prevent a loss of trust and a decrease in brand respect and loyalty. In the most recent CISO/Security Vendor Relationship Podcast, the Cloud Security Tip explains the significance of data encryption.
What is Encryption and How Does it Work?
Data encryption essentially translates data into a secret code, so that only people with access to a decryption key or specific password can read it. Encrypted data is called ciphertext, and unencrypted data is called plaintext. Currently, encryption is one of the most common data security methods that organizations use — and for a good reason. Encryption is a crucial step in cybersecurity because it allows organizations and individuals to protect sensitive information and resources.
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the standard encryption algorithm used by the U.S. Government and countless organizations. TLS for email, HTTPS and SSL for websites, and the use of a VPN when connecting from public Wi-Fi hotspots (even those that say they are secure) are some ways that organizations utilize encryption to secure their most sensitive data.
Symmetric Encryption Vs. Asymmetric Encryption
Encryption schemes can be broadly classified into Symmetric and Asymmetric. Symmetric encryption occurs when the sender and recipient of a particular set of data use a single shared key to encrypt and decrypt the message. Asymmetric encryption uses a unique key for encryption and decryption. Anyone can use the encryption key to encrypt a message. However, the decryption keys are secret. This method means that only the intended receiver can decrypt the message.
Securing Sensitive Organizational Data
But like Steve Prentice explained on the Cloud Security Tip, “encryption isn’t the end of the story. There must be network security controls to help protect data in transit as well as securing the transmission networks themselves. Proactivity is key.” To be proactive means identifying at-risk data, establishing user prompting regulations and automatic encryption for things like files attached to an email message, and taking stock of, and categorizing all types of data to ensure the right level of security is applied to each.
An option for encrypting and protecting organizational data during transit between your company’s network and remote workers would be to use a VPN solution like OpenVPN Access Server. A VPN encrypts your data even before being transmitted and tunnels the encrypted data over the Internet to a remote server on your network. Access Server protects you and your organization from cyber criminals trying to steal your sensitive business information while it is going over the Internet. Access Server utilizes high-end security features to prevent hackers from accessing the VPN tunnel your data is in. There are a few reasons why OpenVPN Access Server is a top choice for businesses of all sizes:
- Rock solid, hardened, and scalable VPN server that is easy to setup and manage
- Cloud Application Marketplace availability for AWS, GCP, and Azure
- Support for both site-to-site and remote access virtual networking
- Economical licensing model based on the number of concurrent connected devices
- Easy distribution of VPN clients and connection profiles directly from the OpenVPN Access Server
- Ability to setup fine-grained access controls at user and group levels
- Increases mobile workforce productivity by allowing remote access to internal resources
- Reduces security risk by preventing unauthorized access to specific network resources
- Encryption ensures privacy on untrusted Wi-Fi and other public access networks
- Extends centralized unified threat management to remote networks
Once everything is secure and encrypted, make sure your employees are practicing due diligence to keep your sensitive data secure from accidental loss. Encryption is crucial — but it won’t do much good if your employees are mishandling information. Make sure employees are aware of what information is sensitive, how to access it safely, and authorized ways to transmit it. Good employee habits combined with top-notch encryption and security precautions means that your organization will be secure, and far less likely to fall victim to accidental or intentional data loss.