Data encryption is one of the most important security measures for a business to have in place. Encryption works to keep your data secure, whether it’s private information, sensitive data or intellectual property.
Data breaches are one of the biggest threats facing business leaders right now, and they’re more common than you think. Over the last 12 months, 32% of UK businesses and 24% of charities reported breaches or attacks, rising to 59% for medium-sized businesses and 69% for large businesses1.
The consequences of a data breach can be devastating for a company, too. An attack often leads to substantial financial loss, with costs involved in compensating affected customers, incident investigation and response, legal fees plus any fines that can be imposed for non-compliance with data regulations.
Then there’s the damage to a company’s reputation. A data breach risks a significant number of customers deciding to go elsewhere and stop doing business with a company that has reported an attack.
Your brand image could be tarnished, an effect worsened by widespread use of social media to air feelings of distrust or disappointment in a company. And news travels quickly, meaning that any breach has the potential to cause irreparable damage to a business.
However, this doesn’t have to be you. There are a range of data encryption systems out there that can stop your valuable data falling into the wrong hands.
How does encryption protect data
Encryption protects data and keeps information safe by translating files or messages that are readable – known as plaintext – into unreadable code, called ciphertext. A decryption key is required to unlock this ciphertext and turn it back into plaintext so it can be read.
This process helps prevent unauthorised individuals from accessing and using or stealing your data, or installing a damaging malware virus.
What data encryption services are available
There are plenty of different data encryption options available. Programs such as Bitlocker or FileVault will give you confidence that files and private documents saved on your computers will remain inaccessible to hackers, and you can encrypt entire hard drives and folders too.
End-to-end encryption is a secure process that protects data being transferred from one endpoint to another, and prevents third parties from being able to gain access to it at any point on its journey. Many high profile communications services, such as Zoom and Whatsapp, have incorporated this technology into their systems.
It’s also important to protect business emails, which you probably use every single day. Emails can fall into the wrong hands via hacking, or through being sent to someone outside the business. You can protect the content of your emails with the Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) service, which will ensure anyone who is not authorised to access your emails won’t be able to read them.
You can also make use of password and identity security services, such as LastPass, to ensure your passwords will work effectively to keep your data safe – without you having to remember them all.