PDF Version: Tokenization and Encryption
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 protection holds an important place for every industry. This importance increases many folds in the case of the healthcare industry. A trusted way of data protection is ‘Encryption’. The key is to encrypt both static and moving data. However, with an increase in the amount of healthcare data being collected every day, encryption has become a challenge.
Before understanding the ways of data protection, it is imperative to know the sources of this data:
- Hospital devices
- Personal devices of the patient
- Implant devices
- Data from pharmacists, drug manufacturers, and distributors
- Data from insurance companies
What Is The Need To Protect Healthcare Data?
Healthcare data is a lucrative magnet for cybercriminals as they can sell the data on the dark web and earn high profits. In addition to demanding ransom, the cybercriminals may use stolen healthcare data for:
- Identity theft and health insurance fraud
- Exposing private information
- Damaging a person’s reputation
- Causing personal distress
- Using compromised accounts as gateways for a network breach
What Does Healthcare Data Encryption Mean?
Data encryption means converting the original data into encoded text. This form of text is unreadable unless it is decoded using a decryption key or code. In case, of healthcare data, it includes the protection of ePHI (Personal Health Information) to secure it from unauthorized access.
The secret for a successful data protection using encryption lies in ‘Key Management Strategy’.
Key Management Strategy:
Key Management Strategy deals with an important question – how can healthcare organizations ensure that the key required to decrypt the data are shared with authorized parties only. The strategy addresses the following points in general:
Key Storage: The decryption keys should be stored securely to avoid theft.
Rotation/Destruction Of Keys: This factor helps in ensuring that new decryption keys are applied to new data sets. Also, it is important to preserve the old keys required to access old data sets, whenever needed.
Key Generation Granularity: Zero Trust Approach should be followed in the process of key generation while ensuring key access to even the lowest tier of authorized users.
Automation: Automating the Key Management System helps in reducing human error as well as an administrative burden.
Ease Of Use: In order to make a Key Management System effective, the system should have an easy to use user interface.
For more information on the use of encryption to protect healthcare data, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.