Network security for small businesses is of particular importance. Hackers come up with new and sophisticated ways of attacking your servers and stealing all the critical data. If you have stored any client information and company data on computers, you need to protect it from cybercriminals. Encryption is one of the crucial solutions to protect all sensitive data.
Here is everything you should know about encryption for small businesses.
- What is encryption?
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Encryption is a digital form of cryptography that entails taking plain text and scrambling it into an unreadable format. It uses mathematical algorithms to jostle a document into an unreadable format. As a result, the encryption creates a ciphertext that protects sensitive data for organizations.
You can encrypt an individual file or entire disks in the server and prevent unauthorized persons from reading. Only a person with a decryption key can access the message. Hence, encryption protects against data breaches to keep any organization safe. You can encrypt internal and external hard disks, as well as file stores in the cloud.
- How does encryption work?
Encryption works by limiting information access. It ensures only individuals with a decryption key can decode the texts. While it doesn’t prevent access to your network like a firewall, encryption renders your data useless, meaning hackers can use it for ransom. By translating data to another form and code, encryption ensures that only people with an access key can read the data.
There are both symmetric and asymmetric data encryption. Symmetric encryption uses a single private key to secure data, while asymmetric uses a combination of public and private keys. The advanced encryption standard (AES) is a common form of symmetric encryption. AES has been the US government standard for encryption, using 128-bit keys to encrypt files and drives.
- Third-party encryption
Third-party encryption is when you use an open-source software program to protect your data. Experts develop these programs to help businesses protect their data. For example, you can find a third-party software that secures all interactions. You must trust it to act in your interests by encrypting and digitally signing files and emails. For example, the AWS hardware security module is a third-party cryptographic service that maintains hardware security modules in your AWS environment. However, ensure you provide employee education when using third-party encryption.
- Why is encryption necessary?
The amount of data getting lost in businesses has been on the rise all over the world. Therefore, all organizations needed to protect their sensitive data and neutralize hackers. Encryption ensures that hackers won’t use the information even after getting into your networks. While encryption doesn’t prevent hackers from accessing the servers, it is impossible to read your data.
It can also assure clients that their confidential data is safe. This includes their names, financial information, and social security numbers. Clients can sue your organization if their sensitive data is leaked or stolen. Therefore, encryption is a safe bet to protect client information and keep it away from cybercriminals. Without encryption, you leave your company data exposed to potential theft from hackers.
- Types of computer encryption
There are several computer encryption types available for small and large business organizations. Each type is developed with different security needs. For example, the data encryptions standard (DES) is low-level encryption that can’t protect sensitive data. It only encrypts specific items on a computer when storing a few documents.
You need Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to encrypt sensitive data, as it uses a robust algorithm for encryption. RSA is also used for data encryption because it has a long key to secure data transmission. Other types include Twofish, considered the fastest encryption algorithm for both software and hardware protection.
- Built-in encryption program
Whenever planning a computer encryption program for your business, consider the built-in encryption program. This is one of the strongest encryptions since it is developed with a network or device. For example, Microsoft BitLocker is encryption in windows 7, 8, and 10, designed to store your disk encryption key.
Businesses can use built-in encryption programs built in the modern versions of Windows and OS X operating systems. The programs encrypt a disk when installing an operating system and store the encryption recovery key to prevent hackers from intruding.
- Best computer encryption practices
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The best encryption practice for small businesses is to back up all files. Encryption ensures that any information backed up on external hard drives or cloud storage is safe. Encryption is the best line to prevent hackers from getting back-door access to your data.
Also, a VPN can encrypt all communications between your machines, thus locking out criminals who use the internet to attack companies. Virtual private network encryption all information from the laptop while protecting the network. Remote employees must use their home Wi-Fi connections.
The Bottom Line
If you are storing data on a cloud server, you need encryption to protect your confidential information. It is a security measure that protects all sensitive data from hackers and cybercriminals. Today, encryption technology is readily available and affordable. Hence, every small business should have encryption technology to protect against data vulnerability and enterprising data thieves. However, this encryption is only one part of a cybersecurity program for small businesses. You will need to try other measures such as employee education to keep your data secure from hackers.