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Common Misconceptions About Database Encryption

April 27, 2016 | By Editor 

With the controversies surrounding the court battle between Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Apple, Inc. there is a sudden shift of attention towards data encryption in the public domain. If anything, the tug of war between state and privacy-seeking entities has fuelled encryption debate, in the same way when websites suddenly started using SSL encryption in hordes right after the ground-breaking Snowden leaks in 2013.

Unfortunately, encryption is hugely misunderstood – most websites comprehend it as a fad and not as a security commodity. Below, we have tried to debunk the myths surrounding data encryption and why is it a fundamentally necessary tool for every website on the internet.

1. Encryption is Difficult

Not true at all. You don’t need to master cryptography in order to understand or implement data encryption. For online businesses, SSL certificates (or their variations) work like a charm. Encryption has been so prioritized lately that certain versions of Microsoft Windows offer default Bitlocker encryption to secure local files and folder. Likewise, BitLocker To Go can encrypt data on an external device like a USB drive. But for the majority PC owners who use Windows Home versions like the Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, BitLocker is not an option.
However, they can use third-party services like VeraCrypt, AxCrypt, GNU Privacy Guard, 7-Zip, etc. – some of them are totally free and cover multiple OS platforms including Windows, iOS and Linux. Whether it’s your personal backups, photos, confidential documents, or other stuffs, you can use the above mentioned services to secure files and make sure no one else but you have the keys

2. Criminals Only Go for High Profile Websites

Far mountains look flat – every untoward incident feels like something bad that happens to others until it happens with us. We believe that hackers only target big businesses because the media only reports high profile cases of data breach, and not the everyday sorrow of millions of average Joe who equally bear the brunt of cybercrime. But if we dig deeper, like this survey by Javelin Strategy & Research did, we will know that around 12.7 million people in US were robbed off $16 million in 2015 alone. To put it in better perspective, consider this – within the US an identity theft case takes every 2 seconds on an average.
Lately however, individuals are becoming more self-aware these days and even small businesses online are using SSL certificates to keep their customer data safe.

3. Internal Threats Are Not as Devastating as External Ones

Although unconfirmed, various investigations concluded that the notorious Ashley Madison data leak was an inside job, either by disgruntled or money-grubbing employee(s). Threats are threats, regardless of where they originate from. In fact, internal threats should be treated with greater precaution because an insider knows a system well than outsiders who weave their gameplan based on hunch. On top of SSL certificates and firewalls to thwart external attacks, an enterprise-level network should have impenetrable passwords, exclusive access rights and privilege management in place to avoid internal attacks.
Stabbing from forthcoming enemies is expected, but it is the backstabbing Judas Kiss that we should be afraid of.

4. Encryption Slows Down Your System/Network

Although this used to be true in the foregone years, this statement doesn’t hold true for today’s encryption technology. Because the hardware processing speed and capacity has improved a lot in recent years, encryption makes little to no difference to the device processors these days. A decade ago, though, encryption operations were carried out in software and demanded more footing in a device’s storage, which caused the slowing down.
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have relatively weaker processors, and yet, even these machines are well-equipped to handle encryption without remarkable lag time.

5. Encryption is a Costly Hassle

The cost associated with encryption is puny compared to the cost of damage incurred by data theft.
A recent study by Ponemon Institute revealed that enterprises can save up to $20,000 per laptop on an average if they applied encryption, compared to the data recovery costs in case of a breach incident.
Experts argue that companies should look beyond the price comparison of devices versus the cost of encryption products, but analyze the true value of data that is at risk when there is no encryption. There is no easy way for anything worthy, however, if you have a website you can opt for free SSL certificates from certain brands for a limited time.

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