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Using Encryption To Protect Data

What Is Encryption?

Encryption is the translation of date into a secret code. To decode the message and read the encrypted file you need access to a secret key or password. Without the key the message looks like a random series of letters, numbers, and characters.

Encryption is essential when sending sensitive information over the internet or using portable devices to store sensitive information where it can be intercepted by an attacker. Encryption provides an additional layer of security.

Choosing Encryption

Most small and medium-sized organisations already use encryption but might not realise they are doing so. Mobile telephone transmissions and most wireless networks are encrypted. Some manufacturers of tablet computers and laptops also incorporate data encryption as standard.

Check if your device already has an encryption capability and if so ensure it is switched on. Make sure you follow the configuration rules set by the supplier of your encryption software.

If your computer (particularly a portable device) does not have built-in encryption, consider buying and installing a third-party hard disk encryption product to protect data on your computer when it is not in use. This is particularly important if you hold personal or other sensitive data.

The mode and level of encryption you choose should be determined by the sensitivity of the data involved. Generally speaking the more bits used for the encryption the stronger it will be, 128-bit encryption is stronger than 64-bit for example.

Ensure you choose encryption software that is appropriate to your specific needs and level of risk. It may be worthwhile engaging a third party IT support provider or security specialist to help select and install the most appropriate encryption product.