While most business leaders understand what encryption is, they battle to grasp the importance of encryption for cyber security, particularly as both aim at preventing cyber attacks.
However, while cyber security and encryption are not mutually exclusive, there are some significant differences between the two. In a nutshell, cyber security is a term that encompasses the tools, solutions, and procedures that are implemented to protect businesses and individuals from malicious actors who want to get their hands on their data.
On the other hand, encryption is one of the fundamental elements of cyber security, which is used to protect data from being stolen, altered, or compromised. It works by scrambling data into an unreadable format also called cipher text, which can only be unlocked with a unique digital key. In this way, the true meaning of that information is obscured, and therefore useless to attackers.
Both encryption and cyber security work in unison to ensure data security. Data security is crucial for businesses of every size, and in every vertical, to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Entities who are lackadaisical about data security do so at their peril, as failure to secure data can have catastrophic consequences.
Firstly, we live in an increasingly stringent regulatory environment, Compliance with industry and government regulations has become critical in order to operate legally. Similarly, falling foul of the regulators can have disastrous impacts on the business. Over and above the obvious financial losses and costs associated with mitigating an incident, breaches can incur fines of millions of rands and other legal costs. Then there’s the reputational and brand damage, as well as loss of customer trust and confidence which are impossible to quantify.
Encryption, as a sub-set of cybersecurity, is one of the better ways for security leaders to keep data protected and networks secure. Both are key to keeping businesses and their data secure and private. Cyber security involves risk management, data loss prevention, intrusion prevention, anti-malware, SIEM, SOAR, policy, incident response, and identity and access control. Encryption, on the other hand, is there to ensure data confidentiality, authentication, and integrity. They are two separate fields that work together.
Vast volumes of data from multiple sources are processed, stored, and transferred every day by individuals, institutions, and public and private sector organisations, all of which handle sensitive data. In certain industries, such as financial services and healthcare, highly confidential customer information is handled too, and if this information falls into the wrong hands, the consequences could be dire indeed.
A threat actor might, for example, use stolen data to carry out sophisticated social engineering techniques, or for identity theft. They might also use stolen data for targeted attacks, or to use an individual as a stepping stone into a larger, more desirable target. It’s not going to far to say that cyber crime is of the main threats to national security in every country, and thus should be at the top of every CIO’s agenda.
Encryption is a tool that any security head can harness to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its data, and its role in cyber security should not be negotiable. With encryption, only the individuals with the right privileges and permissions can access certain information.
Similarly, encryption ensures data integrity by rendering it unreadable by and therefore unusable to, malefactors and fraudsters. Finally, encryption supports data availability, making sure that those with the right permissions can use systems and retrieve accurate data timorously in order to do their jobs.
Billions of people around the world use technology every day in their personal and professional daily lives. Everyone has to store, transfer, and access personal data at some point, and unfortunately, cyber criminals do not discriminate. Everyone is vulnerable to cyber crime and fraud, which can lead to losses and other unpleasant consequences.
Fortunately, Altron Systems Integration provides cost-effective cryptographic solutions, enabling businesses in every industry to encrypt their data or transactions remotely or locally. This provides the ultimate level of data security to ensure that today’s highly vulnerable environments are protected and secure.
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