Data protection and encryption are probably two of the most misunderstood technologies in the IT industry. The reason is that most people have never been formally introduced to how encryption works. Furthermore, most people are rarely fully informed about how the technology works in their everyday career and life. Here are some ways you can use encryption and file protection technologies to help secure your business.

Learn the Technologies

Encryption requires three elements. The data to be protected is the first. Then a password is setup to protect the data. The third is the algorithm or “scheme” by which the data will be scrambled. This is the most important part of the system because without a definitive algorithm, the scrambled data cannot be reassembled into its original form. Knowing how these three elements combine to produce an encryption system is the most important thing a business owner can do to protect their data. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to know if your data is secure. It is also impossible to establish security protocols to prevent errors and lost data without this.

Secure E-mail

While nearly every e-mail service has some degree of encryption built into it, truly secure e-mail requires the content of each message be scrambled. This is normally accomplished through the use of asymmetric encryption. Someone might send you a message that is scrambled with a public key. Asymmetric encryption allows you to decrypt or unscramble this message with your private key. These public/private key combinations can be set up in such a way so as to limit certain e-mail conversations only to the people who have both keys. This can be an excellent way to maintain privacy and also to preserve legal confidentiality if necessary.

Hardware-Encrypted Storage

Some storage devices like hard drives and solid state drives can be equipped with hardware that allow them to automatically encrypt all the data stored on them permanently. This type of encryption can be set to require software credentials like a password or a hardware key like a dongle or daughterboard add-on to decrypt the data and make it available to read or process. This kind of encryption often requires the expertise of an IT team, as they can be trained and equipped to manage hardware access to secured systems. Professionals, like those at IT services Ottawa, can also help with malware and anti-spam services to support your business.  These are important parts of running a business that need to be attended to. Many financial institutions and law firms are set up to utilize this kind of authorized access.

Single Use Containers

Some software makes it possible to take a single file or archive and encrypt it with a unique password or sign data with a private key. This is often useful when transporting confidential financial data between offices or as an attachment to e-mail if permanent encryption facilities aren’t practical. One good example of this kind of software is called gnupg, which is an implementation of RFC4880 OpenPGP standard.

Encryption is a complex subject, to be sure. Understanding the various technologies and more importantly, the mechanisms behind them can help business owners make use of their powerful security features to help protect their business.