Our cashless and paperless society has come to depend more and more on encryption. Nowadays, we use the ATM for transactions, purchase a movie ticket using a mobile financial service, shoot emails and text messages, and pay for groceries with a debit card.
Behind all these actions is the carefully guarded technology of encryption which protects our private data and prevents fraud. Let’s get a lowdown on what encryption is and what the seven key elements of a successful encryption strategy are.
What is Encryption?
Simply put, encryption is the process by which our private information like bank accounts, passwords, etc. are converted into codes. This prevents data from being accessed or used by unauthorized people.
Encryption uses the science of communicating secretly – cryptography. Organizations like paceap.com provide encryption services to apps and industries that depend on secured software to function.
Why Do We Need an Encryption Strategy?
We need a strong encryption strategy to:
- Secretly communicate over an insecure channel like the Internet.
- Protect the data that organizations and individuals entrust other organizations with.
- Prevent fraud by using codes that cannot be deciphered by unauthorized organizations or individuals.
- Prevent the loss of clients and business.
The 7 Key Elements of a Successful Encryption Strategy
The complicated world of cryptography and encryption needs a careful strategy for successful implementation. Therefore, any organization planning for end-to-end encryption must abide by the following seven key elements of a successful encryption strategy.
The key stakeholders of the organization like the management, operations department, and IT department must come together. Their main role at this stage is to identify industry guidelines, laws, regulations, and all other external influences. These factors will have an impact later on in the purchasing and execution stages.
Moreover, the stakeholders can pinpoint which areas are prone to the highest risks like mobile handsets, laptops, wireless connectivity, and info backup.
- Classification of Data
In this stage, all heads are put together to sift valuable data from the less valuable data. This immediately separates information that is more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals.
This process is done by studying the data usage cycles. At the next level, steps to put encryption controls are placed by probing into the following questions:
- Where is data currently stored?
- Who has access to the data?
- How does the organization decide whom to give data access to?
- How does the organization take stock of its partners’ security?
- How much is the combined worth of the organization’s and its partners’ data to a potential cyber attacker?
- Key Management
In the third element to successfully implement an encryption strategy, the stakeholders must know which certificates and keys are used in the network to prevent any attack, who are authorized to access the keys, and when these keys are being used.
Key management involves two parts:
- Encryption Key Lifecycle Management.
From creation to initiation, distribution, activation, deactivation, and termination – every key has a life cycle. This must be protected with the right key management services.
- Heterogenous Key Management.
All the encrypted keys must be kept in a central place. This ensures there’s only one gateway to grant all authorized access. A single view into the encrypted data makes the encryption strategy air-tight.
- The Right Solution
All encryption solutions are not created equal. It takes some deep research to land a recommended solution that ensures it will fit the organization’s, partners’, and clients’ data protection needs.
The best strategy at this stage is to go for a trial before you make the final cash outlay. For complete trust and ownership, look for a company that’s not dependent on a third party for encryption services.
Another good strategy is to use a variety of solution providers and their services before you select the final fit.
- Access Control
How can an organization ensure that only authorized personnel can access the encrypted data? The answer is access control.
With stringent access control techniques, an encryption strategy can be successfully implemented. This entails a strong combination of file permissions, passwords, and two-factor authentication for the tightest security.
Access controls have a validity period and, therefore, must be checked regularly. Also, with changes in people who have access, the system must be updated immediately to ensure valuable data do not fall in the wrong hands.
- Signed Policies
Before implementing the encryption solutions, a written policy must be drawn and shared with the stakeholders for their approval. Once approved, it must be shared with the business partners, vendors, and end-users so that there’s little chance of confusion or dissension later on.
Even cloud service providers must agree to your written policy, otherwise, you wouldn’t divulge valuable information to them.
In the policy, the consequences of not adhering to the policy must be clearly explained so that all parties are aware.
- SSL Decryption
Normal encryption protects the privacy of data but it also has a flip side – it hides any potential security threats.
That’s where SSL decryption steps in. It uses various inspection tools to identify threats going out from the user to the Internet and vice versa. Plain encryption is a one-way process of protection while SSL decryption protects data and prevents threats with a two-pronged action.
Thus, in the process of implementing an encryption strategy, it’s wise to choose SSL decryption for higher security.
As more individuals and organizations are leaning toward virtual transactions and the exchange of information over the Internet, cybersecurity is gaining more importance. Companies are adopting tight encryption services to protect customer data and avoid financial loss or the loss of clients.
The seven main points to remember when putting an encryption strategy in place are a collaboration among the stakeholders; data classification, to sift more valuable information for higher protection; central management of keys; choosing an encryption solution that fits the organization’s and client’s needs; strong access control techniques with file permissions, passwords, and two-factor authentication; a written policy for parties to sign, with non-compliance consequences for all partners and stakeholders; and SSL decryption to go one step further in protecting data and fighting threats.
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