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Tag: Data Encryption

Types Of Data Security

Data security refers to a set of standards, protocols, and techniques that are focused on protecting personal or organizational data from intentional or accidental destruction, modification, and disclosure. Different technologies and techniques can be applied to ensure data security. These techniques include administrative controls, physical security, logical controls, organizational standards, etc.

In order to choose the right data security protocols, it is important to understand different types of data security.

Authentication: It is the process of validating a registered user’s identity before allowing access to protected data. It is used in conjunction with authorization; the process of validating that the authenticated user has been granted permission to access the requested resources. Authentication involves a combination of ways to identify a user, such as passwords, PINS, security tokens, a swipe card, or biometrics.

Access Control: Authentication and authorization happen through access control. It is a method of guaranteeing that users are whom they say they are and that they have the appropriate access. Access control systems can include-

  • Discretionary Access Control (DAC) assigns access rights based on user-specified rules.
  • Mandatory Access Control (MAC) assigns user access based on information clearance.
  • Role Based Access Control (RBAC) grants user access based on the user’s role and implements key security principles such as ‘least privilege’ and ‘separation of privilege’.
  • Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) assigns a series of attributes to each resource and user. The user’s attributes such as time of day, position, location, etc. are assessed to make a decision on access to the resource.

Backups & Recovery: An efficient data security strategy requires a plan for how to access the organization’s data in the event of system failure, disaster, data corruption, or data breach. This puts an emphasis on regular data backups. It involves making a copy of the data and storing it off-site or in the cloud. Also, it is important to formulate proper recovery protocols.

Encryption: Data encryption involves the translation of data into another form, or code so that it is accessible only by the authorized personnel who have the decryption key. However, it is highly important to ensure the security of decryption keys, critical management systems, and off-site encryption backup.

Data Masking: This type of data security involves the masking of original data by obscuring letters or numbers with proxy characters. The data is changed back to its original form by software only when it is received by an authorized user.

Tokenization: In this case, sensitive data is substituted with random characters that cannot be reversed. The relationship between data and its token values is stored in a protected database lookup table.

For more information on types of data security, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Switching To An Encrypted Communication App

Encryption is the process of encoding information for preventing anyone other than the intended recipient from viewing it. It uses an algorithm known as a cipher to convert the information into a code that appears like random characters or symbols. This renders the information unreadable to anyone who does not have the decryption key. Same concept is applied to an encrypted communication app.

What Is An Encrypted Communication App?

An end-to-end encrypted communication app secures the messages being sent and makes sure the information is visible only to the end users – the sender and receiver.

Why Is It Important To Switch To An Encrypted Communication App?

As privacy has become an important consideration for organizations and individuals alike, securing the communications has gained leverage. Common reasons behind a leaked communication are:

  • Monitoring of communications by the app providers
  • Security breach by hackers/cyber criminals

A leaked communication text may cause damage to personal/organizational reputation by exposing personal/trade secrets. Additionally, communications may include the exchange of media files such as personal photos, videos, etc. Breach of these files may cause a serious threat to the parties involved.

How To Choose An Encrypted Communication App?

While it has been established that now is the time to switch to an encrypted communication app, a major question is how to choose a suitable app from the large pool of available communication apps.

In order to choose a suitable encrypted communication app, it is important to consider following points:

  • Encrypted Metadata: In the context of messaging, metadata includes information such as the sender’s phone number, recipient’s phone number, date and time of the message. This information may seem trivial, but it can be used to map with whom and when the individual communicates. So, choose a communication app that encrypts the metadata along with the body of the message.
  • In-App Encryption: Some communication apps do encrypt the messages being shared over the network but do not encrypt the messages stored on the device. This may cause a threat in case the device is stolen. Thus, it is important to confirm that all the messages are encrypted before being stored on the device prior to choosing a communication app.
  • Online Backups: It is a common practice to back up the communications on cloud (Google Drive, etc.) to combat situations like failed/stolen devices. However, in this case, the messages are protected by a single layer of security (mostly a password). So, consider a communication app that offers an alternate solution to secure the backup.
  • Security Analysis: In the case of closed source communication apps, it is practically impossible to review the code and see how well the encryption has been integrated. So, it is advisable to choose an open-source communication app that allows analysis of the security measures enforced by the app.
  • Security Settings: Choose a communication app that has security-focused settings such as ‘Self-destructing messages’ that disappear after a pre-selected time, ‘Screen Security’ that prevents anyone from taking a screenshot of the conversation, etc.

For more information on encrypted communication apps, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Data Encryption Transformations Entrepreneurs Should Know About

PDF Version: Data-Encryption-Transformations-Entrepreneurs-Should-Know-About

Data Encryption: Threats And Best Practices

November 28, 2015

Data encryption has long been known to be one of the most effective and important techniques to safeguard information in a corporate setting. It allows the users to translate sensitive digital data that is stored on a computer system or transmitted across the company’s network. The encrypted data, known as ciphertext, can only be accessed by authorized users who have the password required for decryption. Here are some of the reasons every organization needs data encryption:

  • Risk of unauthorized users viewing sensitive data: Sharing important files and data are critical for teamwork. However, all employees might not be clear about who is authorized to view what kind of information. Whether accidently or purposely, giving unauthorized users access to confidential data can endanger your organization’s’ IT security.
  • Risk of employees viewing undeleted data: Ideally, the information that is not required should be deleted from the computer. However, this might not be possible for the data stored on the cloud as there may be additional copies present as backup which can be accessed by other people.
  • Risk of sharing unencrypted sensitive data: Businesses that require storing sensitive personal and financial information of clients or customers may invite serious legal implications without proper data encryption.

Tips to implement a successful data encryption strategy

  • Evaluate your security goals: Before devising an encryption strategy, you need to figure out what all you want to protect. This may include all the hard drives, removable storage devices, employees’ personal laptops or any other kind of system. You must also get yourself familiar with all the data governance policies and compliance mandates applicable for your business.
  • Enforce removable media encryption: With USB flash drives and portable hard disks holding a massive amount of data, securing only the computer systems does not seem to be enough. You must ensure that all information transferred from one source to another on the company’s network is properly encrypted.
  • Maintain comprehensive audits: You must maintain a comprehensive log of every time any sensitive information is accessed. The name of the employee, data accessed, purpose and time of use should be recorded.
  • Access control: Ascertain that only the authorized users are able to view the encrypted data. Also, limit the number of times that data can be accessed each day. For a successful encryption strategy, you must implement an appropriate balance of file permissions, passwords and two-factor authentication.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help to implement an effective data encryption policy in your Central Texas based organization. For more information, you can call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

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