Why the Average Person Should Care About Encryption

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Source: http://csmres.co.uk

Source: http://csmres.co.uk

Every person has a digital record. From visits to the doctor’s office to records at the Department of Motor Vehicles to bank accounts and old student loans, there is an endless supply of information waiting for hackers to access. Data encryption is one way that network providers aim to provide protection against unauthorized use of data.

How Encryption Works

Encryption is the process of coding information so that only authorized users can access it. This process is one portion of a strategy in protecting sensitive data such as social security numbers, bank accounts and other identifiers. Once an encryption key processes information, it is referred to as ciphertext. Encryption keys can change on a daily basis or even more frequently for added consumer protection.

Protection Against Unauthorized Access During Data Transmissions

While data is in transit, hackers have an easier target for capturing the sensitive information. Data in transit may include processing that occurs during use of ATMs, mobile credit card payment stations, credit card and debit card keypad machines at retailers, and online purchases. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and smartphone devices can also be encrypted to protect user data from falling into unsavory hands.

Protection of Data at Rest

A lost or stolen thumb drive, flash drive, cellphone, tablet or laptop can quickly lead to the unwanted distribution of sensitive personal or business data. Encrypting the data as it is being saved on these devices adds to the security of the information in case the physical means of secure data storage are compromised. The encryption prevents any files from being reproduced or manipulated by unauthorized users. Recent highly publicized examples of stolen data have included state government laptops stolen from cars, in which the laptops contained files that included social security numbers, bank accounts, names, dates of birth, and addresses of student loan holders and tax payers.

The Importance of Data Security

The average person has data spread out all over, likely in places they never would have expected. Encryption of the data allows people to reduce their worries and anxiety that their information will fall into the hands of those with ill wills. Taking steps to encrypt data also protects those who collect the data, such as retailers, health care providers and governmental agencies against the legal consequences of data theft.

These days, it is common for data to be stored in the cloud. Though it might sound confusing, cloud encryption works no differently from encryption of any other sort. There have been some issues with cloud privacy and data security over the past several years, but overall, data is the most secure it’s ever been. If you have any doubts or concerns about how your data is being stored, consider speaking with your provider and asking for a through overview of their processes.

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