Every company wants to protect its intellectual property, brands, and trade secrets from being stolen by competitors or hackers. In the past, companies could rely on physical security measures to keep their information safe, but today’s world is changing. To stay ahead of the competition, companies must adopt new and innovative security measures to keep their information secure.
One of the most effective ways to do this is through data encryption. If a company encrypts its data, it can prevent data breaches and leaks by securing all communications within its network. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of data encryption available for businesses and individuals today, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Types Of Data Encryption
There are three different types of data encryption:
- End-to-end encryption: This type of encryption involves the encryption of all data in transit, not just at rest. So if you’re sending an encrypted email to a friend, all the data in transit will be encrypted, including the email messages.
- Partial encryption: With this type of encryption, only some of the data within a file is encrypted. It’s usually used with large files, such as images or videos, where the extra computing time required for encrypting the whole file isn’t practical. For smaller files, using a hybrid approach, where some of the data is encrypted and some of it isn’t, is usually preferable. This allows you to have the benefits of end-to-end encryption without the overhead of encrypting every bit of data.
- No encryption: Finally, if you’d like to avoid encryption entirely, you can do so by setting up the VPN service to only forward unencrypted traffic, or you can use an already-established VPN service provider that already has your data encrypted.
Let’s examine each type of encryption in more detail.
End-to-end encryption is the simplest and most effective way to ensure that all your data, whether it’s images, videos, or documents, is encrypted. When you send an encrypted email to a friend, for example, they will receive an encrypted copy of what you’ve sent. So even if the NSA, or some other third party, were to gain access to your emails (which is almost impossible, since the encryption is generally considered one of the strongest around), they wouldn’t be able to read them.
The biggest advantage of end-to-end encryption is that it’s pretty easy to set up. You simply need to install a VPN app to your mobile device or computer and enter a username and password. End-to-end encryption protects all your data, whether it’s at rest or in transit, so connecting to a VPN is always a good idea, especially if you’re concerned about your data being monitored or hacked. Once you’re connected, all your data is automatically and securely encrypted, making it virtually impossible for anyone, including the government, to intercept or read your communications.
The disadvantage of end-to-end encryption is that it requires a complete data set to be stored and transmitted. This means that if you’re sending a large file that exceeds the storage limits of most devices, you’ll have to break it into chunks, encrypt each chunk, and reassemble the file when you’re done. This is computationally expensive, and, for larger files, it can add up to extra time to your workload.
If your company collects and stores a lot of personal data, such as the names, social security numbers, and credit card details of its customers or prospective customers, you might consider investing in partial encryption. This type of encryption allows you to encrypt only specific types of data, such as emails or document files, without having to encrypt your whole computer or mobile device.
Partial encryption comes in two forms:
- Single-bit encryption: This type of encryption allows you to choose which parts of a file are encrypted, using a technique known as bit-level encryption. There is a 0% chance, for example, that the text within an email will be unreadable if you use single-bit encryption. So while it may take a little more time to encrypt a file using this method, it prevents the possibility of data being intercepted or accessed in transit.
- Multi-bit encryption: With this type of encryption, you can fully control which parts of a file are encrypted and which parts aren’t. So, if you’re sending a confidential document to a colleague and don’t want them to have access to the parts of the file that you’ve marked as private, you can use multi-bit encryption to achieve this.
The advantage of partial encryption is that, like end-to-end encryption, it requires only the data that you want to be secured to be stored and transmitted. This makes it much easier to meet data caps when using a mobile device, especially if you’re limited by the amount of storage available. Another advantage of partial encryption is that it gives you more control over which types of data are secured, preventing the accidental or willful leak of proprietary information. If you use document scanners, for example, you may consider using a multi-bit encryption scheme to protect the contents of your confidential documents, as it is virtually impossible to prevent a device from scanning all the pages of a document.
The disadvantage of partial encryption is that, like end-to-end encryption, it requires the data that you want to be secured to be stored and transmitted. So, if you’re sending a large file that exceeds the storage limits of most devices, you’ll have to break it into chunks, encrypt each chunk, and reassemble the file when you’re done. This is a lot of overhead, especially if you have a lot of sensitive information to protect.
Finally, if you have a lot of sensitive data, such as financial records, credit card numbers, and personal emails, you don’t have to encrypt them if you don’t want to. You can use a VPN to securely route all your internet traffic, including web queries, file downloads, and emails, through one isolated network, making it impossible for someone, including the government, to eavesdrop on your communications or view your personal data. This type of encryption is also known as “openVPN” or “transport mode” because, unlike other types of encryption, it doesn’t require you to encrypt each individual byte of data, only the traffic itself.
The disadvantage of no encryption is that, since everything is encrypted, it makes it much harder to maintain a track of what you’ve been doing. If, for example, you connect to a VPN to login to a website that you’ve previously accessed without logging in, the website may ask you for a VPN password, or it may prevent you from logging in at all, because it doesn’t know how to handle the encrypted traffic. So, while no encryption is generally considered the safest option, it also has a lot of disadvantages, depending on the circumstances.
Which type of encryption you’ll want to use depends on your specific needs. If you have a lot of storage space available and you want to keep all your data secure, go with end-to-end encryption. If you have a smaller storage space and you want to protect some sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, you may want to consider using a partial encryption scheme. And if you have a smaller storage space and you want to keep all your data unencrypted, you may want to use a no encryption scheme, or you can connect to an unencrypted Wi-Fi network at work, as long as you remember to log out when you’re done, so your work data doesn’t get exposed all over the place.
As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to each type of encryption. If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to secure your data, you may want to consider using end-to-end encryption, as it is the simplest and most convenient way to achieve this. But if you need a little more control over which types of data are secured and/or if you want something that’s a little more advanced, you may want to look at other types of encryption.