As a business owner, you know that data security is one of the most important aspects of business, especially now that cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated. You're likely using antivirus software, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and the like to protect your Charlotte business. But have you ever tried data encryption?
What is encryption?
This is the process of encoding or scrambling information using complex algorithms so only authorized parties can read the information. Encryption converts readable data into a random string of text. For instance, if the word “good morning” is encrypted, it can appear as “Qxi5$)ThW72=#Z”.
Only those who have the encryption key can translate the data into coherent text, so even if a cybercriminal gets a hold of a file, it will appear as gibberish on their end, thus protecting the integrity of your files.
What are the benefits of encryption?
Aside from data integrity, there are many advantages to using encryption for your small business, such as:
#1. Better security for remote working
At a time when remote working is the new normal, data encryption is a nonnegotiable security step. Employees are now using personal devices to access work documents, making them vulnerable to malware and hacking.
Encrypting your devices ensures that your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Let’s say that your encrypted work laptop was stolen. Even if the criminal has the device, they would not be able to access the files without the encryption key, which only the owner knows.
#2. Device flexibility
Modern encryption technology can be used across a variety of devices, such as tablets, smartphones, and hard disks, among many others. For instance, an encrypted Android smartphone will ask for a PIN or password every time the device is booted up.
You can also use Windows’ BitLocker feature to secure portable storage media such as thumb drives, hard drives, and SD cards. Once they are encrypted, the system will ask for a password before its files can be accessed or modified.
Your internet connection can also be encrypted through virtual private networks (VPNs). Only VPN servers and clients have access to the encryption key, which makes it impossible for cybercriminals to infiltrate a connection and access its data.
Video calls can also be protected. Google’s Duo service, for example, scrambles call data from the caller’s device to the recipient’s device. The audio and video can only be decoded with a shared secret key created locally on the caller’s system, and cannot be shared with anyone else.
#3. Regulatory compliance
Some industry standards may recommend encryption for data protection. For instance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) finds that encryption is the best way to protect electronic protected health information (ePHI) and reduce the probability of a data breach.
Failing to protect company data can result in hefty fines. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), for example, can penalize erring businesses between $5,000 to $10,000 per month. While this may be manageable for larger enterprises, it will be a tough pill to swallow for smaller organizations. Some businesses may also suffer diminished company reputation, data loss, and complete shutdown.
#4. Privacy protection
As data breach incidents happen more often, the need for effective encryption solutions increases.
For instance, should a breach be successful, the owners may not immediately find out about it until after a few months. However, data and device encryption will prevent criminals from benefiting from the data they stole.
#5. Better customer trust
Your clients expect you to take good care of their data, which typically include their names, physical and email addresses, phone numbers, and transaction history. You need to show you’re a company they can trust.
This is where encryption helps. By showing clients that you encrypt your information, you prove to them that you are serious about data privacy. And according to a study by loyalty and travel consolidator Aimia, 75% of people are more willing to share personal data with a trusted brand.
While users also need to do their part in data security, businesses should commit to keeping customer information safe by deploying the latest encryption technologies.
Our Network Security services protect your information from all kinds of cyberthreats, be it malware or hacking. We can encrypt your files and devices to ensure no third-party can ever use them for their own gain. To learn more about how we can secure your business, get a FREE data security assessment today.
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