Encryption Still the Best Way to Protect Data From Hackers
It’s no secret that today’s cyber criminals are heavily funded and technically astute – creating more methods to hack into organizations than individuals and businesses can keep up with. Because of their ever changing, advanced and growing capabilities, private organizations and governments must protect all possible gateways to information in our digital-driven society. In order to keep the data sent via email safe, email encryption remains the best protection in today’s cybersecurity landscape.
Smarter devices mean new vulnerabilities
The evolving technology landscape has created challenges for businesses trying to stay ahead of the curve. As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile and digital, organizations are opening new digital communication and commerce channels to meet employee and business needs.
But as new devices are connected to the network, and thus become connected to confidential information, risks to data privacy will appear. These new devices and potential vulnerabilities create opportunities for hackers to infiltrate personal and professional networks at vulnerable entry points.
Companies must have a solution that is focused solely on encryption if they are to tackle today’s rapidly changing technology landscape. Encryption can be tailored to meet a company’s specific IT policies, compliance requirements and user needs to ensure that critical communication touch points are protected whether on mobile or desktop, keeping organizations’ information safe. Encryption allows businesses to innovate while leveraging new technologies, ensuring that sensitive data remains secure.
Securing confidential information – in transit and at rest
Vast volumes of confidential company, customer and employee data passes through business networks every day. Companies in regulated industries represent a treasure trove for cyber criminals as they hold mounds of confidential information including biometrics, health records, financial transactions, inventory tracking, climate controls, and even digital keys. For example, in order to properly track medical records for HIPAA compliance, there is often personal information attached to communications that can be exploited by hackers.
To ensure that this confidential information is protected, email security solutions are often overlooked in favor of network firewalls or file server security. As a result, message interception has become more frequent - putting information at risk. Email encryption solutions that are content aware are critical to combating hackers targeting corporate email data.
Content aware encryption solutions can be configured to automatically scan email content and attachments based on a company’s security policies - providing a user-friendly experience for employees and peace of mind for IT management. Encryption is crucial to ensuring that this confidential information remains private and secure – while emails are in transit and at rest.
Key to citizen privacy and security
Beyond the business benefits, encryption is also key to citizen privacy and security. But, as governments adapt to crime in the digital age, we have seen them continue to push for ways to weaken one of our best protections, encryption, with master keys or back doors to encrypted information. Encrypting sensitive information is just as important as locking your home when you leave. But would you hide a master key for your home right on its perimeter? Encryption back doors are essentially leaving a key for hackers to discover for easy entry.
Encrypted data is only as secure as the keys used by the system that locked them. If the keys are compromised by hackers, negligence or other means, or entry ways are made available via backdoors, then any data that’s encrypted can be decrypted.
Ultimately, an entrance into encrypted information, whether meant for the government or an IT executive, is an entrance for everyone, including cyber criminals. Encryption is critical to the security of data and ensuring that citizens maintain their privacy, and management of keys is an essential piece of the puzzle.
As adversary tactics continue to grow and evolve, citizens and companies must feel confident that their data - from private information to intellectual property - is secure. Encryption is critical for protecting confidential data from today’s growing, fast-moving and ever-changing cyber threats. And in order to remove pathways for hackers to exploit, we must maintain that back doors are not created, and all keys are properly managed. By applying encryption to email and other data, organizations can ensure that hackers have no way to access data that they discover or intercept.
(About the author: Kai Cheung is vice president, architecture, at Echoworx).