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Data Encryption

Cover for Data Encryption

Date:
By: Nigel Stanley

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Encryption is the process of taking a piece of
data (the plain text) and obscuring it so that
unauthorised people cannot view the original
information (this is called cipher text). Those
people that are authorised to view the data
can be issued with technologies to unencrypt
it, and return it to its original form. These
decryption technologies normally take the
form of a key, which can electronically unlock
the encrypted data.

Historically, confidential data may only have
been handled by a select few members of
an executive team, but now it is likely to be
accessed by all levels of staff throughout an
organisation. Increasingly, having a secure,
encrypted IT infrastructure is a prerequisite
for dealing electronically with many financial
and institutional data suppliers such as banks
and brokerages.

Countless cases have been highlighted over
the past years where staff at all levels have
accessed vast amounts of valuable data only
for it to stolen from unprotected laptops,
transferred to business partner servers, or
sent via email to recipients with uncertain
security.

Various pieces of legislation are now in place
to force data owners to publicly disclose if
confidential data is lost. This requirement is
removed if the data is encrypted.

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