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March 31, 2017

5 Expectations for Encryption

The lifeblood of most companies in today’s digital age is data.  Most of the businesses we interact with today on a daily basis store and hold personal, financial and possibly even non-public medical information on their systems.  For example your favorite online retailer stores your personal, credit card and transactional history.  This is all private data that must be encrypted. 

Is encryption new?  Not at all.  Encryption, or the act of enciphering or encoding information, is not a modern concept. Civilizations have been using forms of encryption for centuries. The SANS Institute cites the first documented instance of written cryptology as occurring around 1900 BC.

In today’s shifting cloud and hybrid landscape, data encryption is even more important because non-public data lives in more places.  Many government, financial, retail and healthcare organizations currently fall under data-at-rest security requirements, which seek to keep all of this data safe and out of the wrong hands. 

As you create or enhance your company’s security strategy, here are five ways to assess the effectiveness of your current encryption capabilities:

 

Are you utilizing transparent encryption technology that won't negatively impact user experience? 

Historically, data encryption impacted a crucial element of data access: speed. Tom Gillis of ComputerWorld.com commented on this issue, “If it slows users down, they will turn it off.” Encryption shouldn’t negatively impact user experience and transparent data encryption requires no changes regarding development, user experience or infrastructure.

Does your encryption solution meet the most current compliance and security standards? 

Encryption is preferred by many regulatory agencies because it continues to shield your data even after a security breach. According to the SANS Institute, the majority of compliance mandates and regulations that involve data privacy “are concerned largely with the protection of private data-at-rest, during transactions and while it traverses network connections.” Your data encryption system should take a comprehensive approach, meeting all applicable requirements that pertain to your industry and the type of data you collect, store and transmit.

Does your encryption system support your administrative access needs while still protecting your data with privileged user controls?

It is vital to minimize your risk exposure without hindering administrative access. Your data encryption system should be able to stop unauthorized access from root, system, cloud and store administrators while enabling authorized users to perform their core functions. Whether you’re protecting yourself from unpermitted attempts to access secure data from internal or external parties, you should be able to define how each user accesses your system while limiting access to sensitive data to privileged users only. You will also want a system that collects insights in how your data is accessed through key management so you can audit all activities involving your encryption keys.

Are you able to improve operational efficiency and avoid re-engineering your application?

Your encryption system should enable you to coordinate your security measures across all of your diverse systems and devices, allowing you to centralize key management operations.  By deploying your encryption solution at file-level, you should be able to implement in a flexible and non-intrusive manner. 

Is your solution scalable, expanding easily to protect your data as new business requirements arise across physical, virtual and cloud environments?

The volume of sensitive and mission-critical data your organization relies on daily will continue to grow. You need assurance that your data encryption strategy meets your need to scale rapidly if necessary. By utilizing a solution that distributes agents across your server infrastructure, you’ll get the scalability you need while eliminating latency.

 

QTS Data Security is built on data encryption software from our industry-leading partner Thales, formerly known as Vormetric. Whether you’re protecting mission-critical data in a physical, virtual or cloud environment, QTS and Thales have partnered together to offer you an encryption solution designed to protect data-at-rest with integrated intelligence and data access policies - including privileged user controls. Learn more about data security from QTS or contact us today.

 
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