The encryption software market is huge and growing. The fact that it’s available on many different platforms, including desktops and mobile devices, as well as the cloud, has dramatically increased its usage and demand. The mandatory compliance with HIPAA and PCI has made it even more valuable in today’s business environment.
Many organizations offer advice to help businesses in the effort to encrypt their data. While some organizations offer products or services to help encrypt your company’s data (on-site or via the cloud), others only provide information about what you should do in order to keep your business’s information safe.
What is Encryption Software and How it Works
Encryption software keeps your data safe and secure. When businesses encrypt their data, as well as computers and devices they use to access such information, it becomes almost impossible for cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive business information.
Encryption software is also known as cryptographic software, encryption algorithm or simply encrypting/decrypting application. It protects information from being accessed by someone who is not authorized to do so.
Encryption software has two main modes of operation:
Block Cipher Mode
Where a number of bits are encrypted as a single set of bits using an encryption algorithm and then decrypted in the same way. In this case, if only one bit is changed in the clear text message, it results in huge changes to the ciphertext after decryption. This method offers no integrity checking and can be attacked by changing some bits which result in predictable changes to the ciphertext.
Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) Mode
Where each ciphertext block is exclusively ORed with the previous block before encryption. If one bit changes in clear text it will change all subsequent blocks after decryption. There are many methods that can be used to automatically encrypt files by using file shredding software, which can erase all evidence of deleted files on your computer.
The main purpose of commercial encryption software is to provide confidentiality by keeping data safe from unauthorized users. It can protect information such as:
- Corporate intellectual property (e.g. source code and design documents),
- Sensitive financial data (e.g. credit card numbers) and personal information (e.g., social security numbers),
- Sensitive business data (e.g., proposals and investor information).
Encryption software can also be used to secure storage devices such as:
- USB flash drives
- External hard disks and tapes
- Mobile phones and PDAs
- CDs and DVDs
- Cloud storage services
How Does Encryption Software Work?
In order to encrypt data, a user will have to use an encryption software application that meets all compliance regulations, such as the one from IronKey. Using this type of program is fairly simple and can be done in three easy steps:
1) The encryption key is used both for encryption and decryption.
2) The user enters their password (secret key), which is sometimes called the passphrase or passcode.
3) Data is encrypted with the encryption algorithm, using an encryption key (password/passcode). Both sender and receiver must use the same secret key in order to encrypt and decrypt data.
Encryption software can be used to encrypt individual files or folders, as well as network drives and entire storage devices.
Why Businesses Can Benefit from Encryption Software?
If you want to keep your business’ information secure and free of data breaches, it is important that you use encryption software. Cybercriminals find security holes in operating systems or applications, especially those that are used on mobile devices and computers all the time. These vulnerabilities in an application’s code allow hackers to steal sensitive data from your company’s databases in just one breach.
Encryption software protects businesses by making encrypted files useless for cyber attackers once they have been stolen. Even if cyber criminals manage to get their hands on encrypted files, they will be unable to decrypt them because the key has been lost forever. Encryption software also helps organizations save valuable time spent encrypting huge amounts of data manually.
How Can Encryption Software Help Protect My Company?
When an unauthorized individual gains access to sensitive business information such as the following:
- Credit card numbers
- Personal information (e.g., social security numbers)
- Sensitive business data (e.g., proposals and investor information)
That can result in serious consequences that include:
- Financial loss
- Loss of customer confidence
- Identity theft
- Damage to the company’s reputation
If your company does not have an encryption software policy in place, it is time to start thinking about implementing one. With the right encryption software in place, you can prevent your business from possible data breaches and remain compliant with privacy laws.
Encryption is not only for businesses with highly sensitive information; even small companies can benefit greatly by using appropriate encryption tools.
Types of Encryption Software Available
The different types of encryption software for businesses ensure the security and protection of all sensitive data, safeguarding against malicious cyberattacks while keeping you compliant with privacy laws.
That is why it’s essential to understand your needs, including what kind of data you need to protect. It doesn’t matter which platform you choose if it does not have the necessary tools or management features you need to secure your data in the best possible way. Make sure your solution offers automatic security updates, easy configuration options like key rotation, and integrates easily with existing infrastructure.
Here are some of the most important factors you should consider when choosing the best encryption software for your business:
Businesses need a solution that secures all of their data on-premise and in the cloud. A solution that offers end-to-end protection, including mobile devices is ideal for ensuring information remains protected at all times. It should also offer automatic security updates and easy configuration options like key rotation.
It’s critical to find an encryption software system that integrates easily and seamlessly into your existing infrastructure. If you’re looking for a solution that can work with your current security protocols, such as PKI, VPNs, and other system components, the right encryption software will ensure compatibility.
It’s important to choose an encryption platform that meets all compliance regulations such as HIPAA, EU data protection standards, or PCI DSS. Make sure your encryption software is compliant with the most rigorous international standards to protect your business against cybersecurity threats.
Businesses that want to get more out of their information security systems can look into additional features like application white labeling, user provisioning, and de-provisioning, auditing, logging, reporting, and other specific features that are important for the well-being of your business’ data.
The different types of encryption software include:
Full-Disk Encryption (FDE)
This type of software encrypts every single bit of information on a hard drive, including metadata. It is included in most modern operating systems to protect users from data breaches and other cyberattacks.
This type of encryption secures individual files or folders by requiring a password or passphrase to access them, even when they are on the server’s hard drive. This type of encryption is recommended for businesses targeting highly sensitive data.
This type of software encrypts data that is located in databases–the most common types are Transparent Database Encryption (TDE) and Column-Level Data Encryption. TDE encrypts data in real-time when it is written to the disk, whereas CDE only encrypts data for specific columns of a table.
This type of software is used to secure mobile devices, protecting them against theft and tampering. It ensures that all mobile communications are protected with digital safeguards that prevent access by unauthorized users or snooping.
A good way to prevent data breaches and theft, this type of encryption protects backups against malicious attacks by securing information both on-site and in the cloud. It enables businesses to: enforce security policies on sensitive files; automate security functions such as policy check and time stamp validation; and maintain an audit trail of all accesses for rapid investigation in case of a breach.
Keep in mind that it is important to use one type of encryption software because encrypting data with multiple types will cause a big security loophole. Using just one encryption method and standard ensures that it won’t be broken so easily.
Hardware vs Software Encryption
Software encryption is easier to use and more flexible, while hardware encryption has a physical device that you must plug into your computer. Both kinds of encryption can be used on a wide range of storage devices including USB flash drives, tapes, CDs and SSDs. In addition to encrypting individual files/folders, some types of encryption software can also be used to encrypt entire network drives and storage devices.
While fast software encryption exists, if you’re encrypting data on a very large scale or want to encrypt entire network storage devices or system folders that contain thousands of files, it can take much longer for software encryption to complete this process. In these instances, hardware-based encryption may be more efficient.
Enterprises often use software encryption to protect workstations, laptops, and servers against unauthorized access. At the same time, they often turn to hardware-based media encryption solutions to encrypt data shared with outside organizations or physically transported out of their own company premises. This way businesses can make sure that only authorized users will be able to decrypt information even if their hardware has been compromised.
One of the biggest challenges with software encryption is that users often lose or forget passwords, which leaves them unable to access their own data. In contrast, devices with hardware encryption don’t require a password for file decryption – instead, they have onboard processors which can decrypt information automatically as soon as it is plugged in.
The encryption software market is highly fragmented due to a large number of products available, many of which are incompatible with each other because they use different security algorithms and protocols. This makes it difficult for businesses to know which encryption software or hardware device would be best suited for their needs.
To minimize this risk, businesses should look for encryption software that can be integrated into their existing security infrastructure. Data loss prevention, user provisioning and de-provisioning, auditing logging reporting, advanced authentication mechanisms (tokenization), data at rest encryption (DARE) and key management are some of the additional features that organizations should look for when evaluating the cybersecurity solutions they want to deploy.
Figuring out what works best for you takes time, but by being properly informed, and knowing exactly what your needs are, you can rest assured that with the right encryption software, your business will enjoy a much higher degree of protection.
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