What you need to know about file encryption

In today’s digital age, digital or cloud-based files are incredibly easy to move, share, copy or delete, by their very nature. As a result, a single data breach can be catastrophic for a business, organization or even individual.

Of course, this will never change, but security measures like file encryption can create a much needed barrier between data and those seeking access, to ensure the owner of the file never loses control.

While file encryption might not sound like it does anything for your bottom line, it can certainly save your business a lot of trouble from a security standpoint, since encryption can be a valuable defense against cyber-attacks.

What is File Encryption?

file encryptionTo put it simply, file encryption is a method of protecting data from those you don’t want to see it. Among many other uses, file encryption is used to send sensitive information like credit card transactions over the internet, it’s used for email security and also for keeping cloud-based data safe.

While modern encryption is incredibly complex, think of file encryption as you would a decoder ring you might have played with as a child. You encoded a secret message using your decoder ring and only people with that decoder ring could read it – everyone else saw gibberish. This descrambling of text is called ciphertext. You can encrypt individual files, folders, volumes or entire disks on a computer, along with USB flash drives and of course cloud based files.

Why is File Encryption Important?

All organizations need to protect data stored on their computer and company network, particularly those that collect personally identifiable information (PII) like birth dates, names, social security numbers and financial information. If that PII is stolen and the information is leaked or shared, your organization could be facing a lawsuit.

What Devices Can Benefit from File Encryption?

Take laptops for example, by their very nature, they are portable. This means they run the risk of being lost or stolen, and for this reason, it’s important that your organization takes the necessary steps to protect sensitive company data.

In the event your laptop is lost or stolen and the files or disk were not encrypted, it’s easy for a thief to steal your information simply by booting the computer from a USB thumb drive and then accessing the disks in the computer.

At Ontech Systems, we have a variety of file encryption solutions from Symantec and SOPHOS that we use to secure PC’s and laptops. This type of encryption can greatly reduce the risk of data theft.  Contact us to learn more.

3 Types of Computer Encryption

Folder and file encryption: This encryption method only secures the specific items you tell it to. If you’ve only got a handful of business documents stored on a computer, this method might be acceptable.

Volume encryption: This encryption method is one step up from individual file and folder encryption. Think of it as a “container” for files that secures all files and folders created in or saved to that container.

Full-disk or whole-disk encryption: This is the most comprehensive form of computer encryption. In this method, users don’t have to remember to save files to a certain place on the disk, since all files, folders and volumes are encrypted.

With this method of encryption, it is necessary to provide an encryption passcode or have the computer read an encryption key from a USB device when powering on your computer. What this does, is essentially unlock the files so you can access them. For highly sensitive data stored on a PC or laptop, this method can be effective.

Is File Encryption Foolproof?

While file encryption can help protect sensitive company data, like many security methods – individually, it’s not foolproof. For this reason, a layered security approach is the best option for businesses and organizations of all sizes.

With the rise in malware attacks, vulnerability and data breaches, it’s more important than ever to double down on security and implement a layered security approach.

What is Layered Security?

Layered security involves implementing security measures at a system, network and application level. Think of multiple layers of Swiss cheese, stacked side-by-side. If a threat manages to get past one layer of defense, it must get through several others. Through this layered approach, your network is protected behind multiple layers of defense to prevent a single access point of weakness.

This approach offers your organization the highest level of security. After all, the security of your network is only as strong as its weakest link. No matter what the size of your organization, the cost of a data breach far exceeds what it costs to prevent it.

Is Your Business at Risk?

Use this cyber security checklist as your guide to determine whether your business is at risk. To combat the user error aspect of security, take this security quizand ask employees to do the same.

At a minimum, employees with your organization should be utilizing file encryption. Contact our support team online or call us at (262) 522-8560 to learn more about the Symantec and SOPHOS solutions we offer for laptops and PC’s.

Close Security Loopholes in Your Business

We’re still early in the New Year and there is no better time than now to implement a layered security approach to protect your business from future attacks. If you’ve ever experienced a data breach, you know this is absolutely critical to success in 2017 and the years to come.

Since cybercrime increasingly becomes more sophisticated each year, file encryption is just one piece of a larger, more comprehensive approach to IT security, but it is only through a layered security approach that you can achieve the highest level of security for your business.

Register for a No-Obligation FREE Network Discovery

Our Network Consultant will conduct a full audit of your network and discuss with you – minus technical jargon – ways your business can fill in any gaps and resolve any vulnerabilities or loopholes that might compromise your business and potentially cost you thousands of dollars down the road. Request a free Network Discovery today or call us at (262) 522-8560 to learn more.

Have You Registered for a
No-Obligation FREE Network Discovery?
Our Network Consultant will conduct a full audit of your network and discuss with you – minus technical jargon – ways your business can fill in any gaps and resolve any vulnerabilities or loopholes that might compromise your business and potentially cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

Your FREE Network Discovery includes: An audit of your Current Network, Infrastructure, Server(s), PC’s, Backup, Security Performance, Reliability, followed with Q&A Session with our Network Consultant.

During your "non-tech talk" Q&A session we'll discuss:

- Your company's susceptibility to viruses 
- Security of YOUR confidential records
- Your disaster recovery backup plan
- What to do if your system fails

 
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