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Is Your Data Encrypted? It Better Be

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Keeping data safe has always been critical. But as threats continue to increase, as well as the scope of the damage and the impact it has on consumers, knowledge and vigilance must become habitual to any organization online. This month we’ll be sharing our experiences, the stories that have our attention, and plenty of advice on how to navigate the current world of cybersecurity.

There are unknown experts in cybersecurity running about and it’s time we took some notes out of their playbook. Who are these covert coders of data?

Kids. Of course.

Little budding encryption geniuses are everywhere, making up their own languages or creating codes to share secret messages right under their parents’ noses. It’s an obvious idea to them. So why isn’t it an obvious idea to us? Why do companies let their data go unencrypted?

Cybersecurity has never been more vital than it is now. Facebook’s recent debacle shows us that no one is immune. Every security measure counts. As you build a security system for your company’s data, you must include encryption. But, it’s not a task to take on lightly. A thorough understanding of the data you’re aiming to protect will help you develop the strongest plan. Here’s how to do it best.

Scramble it Up

Data encryption is preventative security. It’s ready for a hacker to break through the walls. But, it ensures that they won’t be able to decipher the data, rendering it unreadable. How? By the magic of math. Encryption uses an algorithm to transform plain text into cipher text. The only way to revert it back to its original form is with an encryption key.

Tokenization is a different form of encryption. It adds another layer of protection by randomly scrambling the data. Decoding it requires more direct access to the database. There is no easily shareable key. Instead, tokens are created as a reference point to the original data. However, they can not translate that data into readable information. The real data is stored in a vault, encrypted and safe.

Discover Data Holistically

There are right and wrong ways to go about the encryption process. If you want to make sure you’ve covered your bases, you need to have a plan. The best and most important way to start is with scoping and identification. You need to have a thorough understanding of the data you have, where it is, and how it is shared. Identify each piece of data in every transactional state. Whether it’s in transit, at rest, or in long term storage, data must be encrypted at each stage.

Consider what methods of encryption work best for the kind of data you have. You may think that a standard algorithm is enough for all of the information your organization maintains. But, not all data is created equal. Passwords, for example, can benefit from One Way Encryption. This makes it nearly impossible to reverse the data back to its original form. Other sensitive data, such as social security numbers or bank accounts, can find security via Tokenization. As you discover exactly what you have and where it is, you’ll be able to prioritize accordingly. You must encrypt all your data. Implementing the best type of encryption for each form of data will elevate your security strategy.

Why You Need Encryption

The Facebook breach is staggering for many reasons. Most notable is the glaring mistake the security team made with their encryption. They missed the mark and the consequences are mammoth. If Facebook can’t keep their consumer’s data safe, is there hope for anyone?

Sure there is. The most important thing to keep in mind, with regards to cybersecurity, is that it’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. If you are online, you are vulnerable. Taking steps to protect your online presence, at any stage of development, is the right thing to do. At Atlantic BT, we partner with Arctic Wolf to provide clients with a best in class network monitoring solution and a strategy driven roadmap. Investing in security at the onset can save your company plenty of money down the road. Most importantly, you’re showing your consumers that they were right to trust you with personal information.  

Care Over Fear

It’s very easy to scare clients into investing in cybersecurity. To be sure, there is plenty out there to be scared of. But as you consider your encryption needs and options, remember your prime motivation. It’s not a fear of loss. It’s the care you have for your customers.

Providing service to others is what your organization was founded on. A customer’s success is your success. Protect their data. Protect your Intellectual Property. Act on the beliefs you claim. The best way to value your customer’s trust is to ensure it. Encryption prioritizes the safety of your consumer’s data and your company’s integrity.

Take a Step Forward

At Atlantic BT, we know that safety is tantamount to our client’s well-being. When you’ve designed and developed an online presence you’re proud of, cybersecurity allows it to thrive. Contact our security team today to discuss your options and evaluate what strategies are best for you.  

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