The Role of Encryption in Protecting Private Data

Symmetric vs asymmetric encryption

Most companies rely on special data delivery services to transfer files over their networks between various users. The most traditional file transfer services is a protocol called FTP, or file transfer protocol. FTP is a great way to transfer large files between a client and a server, but it does have its downsides. As most people have been reading about in the news over the last year, cyber crime is on the rise, and companies both large and small have been victims of data theft. As security becomes a bigger concern, many companies are focusing on upgrading their data delivery services to provide a safer and more secure method of transportation. One of the most basic ways to secure file transfer services over a network is by encrypting it.

What is Encryption?

Encryption is the process of encoding a message so that it can’t be read by just anyone. Only the person who possesses the key to decode the message is able to read it. People have been using the idea of encryption for hundreds of years to hide messages from others, and it is an especially important tool for government organizations and army personnel to keep secrets hidden from an enemy. Encryption works by using a special key to encode a message so that it is unreadable. This could be as simple as changing each letter in the message to the one after it in the alphabet. Only a person who knows that this is the key will be able to put each letter back one place to decode the message.

Symmetric vs Asymmetric Encryption

There are two types of encryption: symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric encryption is the most basic encryption technique and uses a single key to both encode and decode a message. The example used above is an instance of symmetric encryption, in which the only secret key was the number of places in the alphabet each letter was changed. Asymmetric encryption is considered a more secure method of encryption because it uses two keys: a private and a public key. The private key is only known by one user, however the public key can be shared with anyone. These two keys are paired together, so a message that is encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted by the matching private key.

Encryption on its own does not prevent information from being stolen, but rather it makes it almost impossible to decipher a stolen message. Other techniques can be used to secure data delivery services so that it is harder to intercept messages, but encryption still holds an important place in protecting private information. With cyber crime on the rise, encrypting data is a great place for companies to start securing their data. Find out more here.

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