Tips for Encrypting Data Files
Encrypting your data should be a part of your standard cyber security measures. Depending on how sensitive your business data is should dictate how thorough you encrypt your data. If you are in the medical field, you need to be sure all patient data is encrypted. If you are manufacturing a commodity in an industry with fierce competition, you should encrypt your data from possible competitor driven cyber-attacks. Any data that you have that is valuable to your business and any customer personal identification information needs to be secured with encryption.
Encryption is a form of secret coding. Businesses and governments have sent secret coded messages for ages. Data in transit, whether it is email, product reports, or designs, may be vulnerable to interception.
Tips for encryption include:
1. Figure out what 5-15% of data is really super critical and sensitive. Encrypt it first.
2. Separate this data from the rest of your network system. Limit who has access. Limit how this data is moved to other systems and mobile devices (including thumb drives) and in what format (for example, only in an encrypted report). Set parameters on how it can be printed.
3. Encrypt any data that is mobile – if it resides on a laptop or mobile device, if it is transmitted over the internet, if it is send to a cloud storage service. Data in transit doesn’t have the protection of your network system security measures.
4. Select a complex, modern encryption tool. Some older ciphers can be cracked quite easily.
5. A longer encryption key is better but takes more hardware and software power. Invest in the best you can for your most sensitive data.
Encrypting all your data is too costly for many businesses. It takes significant processing power and time. Find a balance that works for your environment. Start with the most critical data and then add more. Use a cybersecurity specialist to test the vulnerability of your data in transit after you install your encryption measures to ensure it is working the way you need.
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