Data encryption solutions are powerful tools to protect an organization’s confidential information. For example, data encryption can safeguard communications, files, and data stored on a company’s computer systems. When properly implemented, these solutions can help prevent unwanted access to sensitive documents or networks and provide secure data transfer between two points over a network.
While every organization is different, they all need encrypting to some extent. In today’s digital world, organizations need encryption to ensure the security of their sensitive information. Data encryption is a powerful tool to protect data while it is transmitted and stored, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access and use the information in question.
Oftentimes, the best way to secure data is to use a software designed expressly for this purpose, such as WinZip® Enterprise. In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about enterprise data encryption and why it’s important for your organization.
What is file encryption?
Encryption is the best way to protect data at any stage. Encryption is a way of transforming data into code that only specific recipients can decipher. Essentially, the information becomes manipulated into an unidentifiable format while in transit, only to become readable to the recipient once it reaches its destination.
This security measure prevents unauthorized users from being able to view, understand, and access sensitive information. Agencies, enterprises, organizations, businesses, and even individuals all have data that require safeguarding and encryption.
Without encryption, sensitive and vital information can easily become exposed. Files that need to be restricted and encrypted include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Legal documents
- Financial records and information
- Archive data
- Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
- Patient health information (PHI)
- Trade secrets, copyrights, and intellectual property
When organizations fail to encrypt and protect sensitive information, there can be negative consequences. When organizations leak data, it can result in the following:
- Profit loss
- Customer dissatisfaction
- Reduced employee retention
- Public distrust
Why you need encryption to protect data at rest and data in transit
Data is considered “at rest” when it isn’t actively being used or accessed. Often, this data is stored physically and digitally on databases and computers. The term “data at rest” means the data is not actively moving through any devices or networks.
On the other hand, data in transit, also called data in motion, is a term for information moving from one location to another. This may be across the Internet, from one or more devices, or within a private network.
Data at rest and data in transit are two of the three steps in the data lifecycle. The last stage is called data in motion. Data in motion is regularly accessed for operations such as processing, updating, and viewing. Examples include your banking transaction history and data processed by computing equipment, such as a central processing unit (CPU).
Basic encryption solutions for data in transit or file transfers
There are three standard options used for encrypting file transfer data for internal to external or business-to-business transfers:
- FTPS (File Transfer Protocol Secure)
- SFTP encryption (SSH File Transfer Protocol)
- HTTPS (HTTP Secure)
Unfortunately, basic encryption solutions aren’t enough for the enterprise level businesses. That’s why many organizations use a program like WinZip, which features military-grade encryption. With WinZip, you can add an extra layer of protection over these standard encryption protocols.
FTPS (File Transfer Protocol Secure)
FTPS (File Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secure protocol for transferring files over the internet. It works similarly to standard FTP, but adds an extra layer of encryption and authentication to protect data as it is transferred from one computer to another.
Unfortunately, amongst other things, FTPS does not provide enough robustness against man-in-the-middle attacks, also known as interception attacks, where someone can intercept and modify messages sent between users. Therefore, utilizing enterprise level software, such as WinZip, is recommended for organizations that handle sensitive data.
SFTP encryption (SSH File Transfer Protocol)
SFTP encryption, also known as SSH File Transfer Protocol, works by transferring files through an encrypted channel within an SSH protocol. This allows data to be securely exchanged between two computers.
SFTP encryption may not be ideal for enterprise security because it only encrypts data transferred over the network and does not provide end-to-end encryption. Additionally, like FTPS encryption, SFTP also doesn’t adequately protect against man in the middle attacks because it lacks user authentication.
HTTPS (HTTP Secure)
HTTPS (HTTP Secure) works by encrypting and authenticating data sent between two computers to try to ensure that information remains private and secure throughout the process.
HTTPS encryption is not considered sufficient security for enterprise-level businesses. This is because it only protects data that is sent over the web, not data and applications stored on a company’s server or computer systems. This data may be even more valuable in terms of confidential and sensitive information. Therefore, extra layers of encryption are needed on top of HTTPS encryption.
Common types of data risks at the enterprise level
Data risks are situations where organizations are negatively affected by issues or limitations related to secure data and information. Data breaches can have a catastrophic effect on an organization, both financially and reputationally.
So, what do data risks look like? Some common ways that pose a threat to an organization’s data include:
- Data breaches
- Cloud-based applications
- Human error
- Technology challenges
- Lack of data processes
The most common type of enterprise data risk is malicious attacks from outside sources. For example, hackers may gain access to sensitive information, such as customer records or financial documents. This type of attack is typically targeted at larger organizations that hold more valuable information, such as banks and retail stores.
Another common type of enterprise data risk is human error or negligence. Employees may accidentally mishandle sensitive information or neglect to follow security protocols properly. For example, they may send confidential emails or documents to the wrong person or leave their workstation unlocked while away from their desk.
Additionally, companies need to be aware of potential insider threats who may have access to an organization’s systems and databases. Insider threats can deliberately leak confidential information or sabotage operations from within the organization.
How WinZip Enterprise can help you mitigate data risks
WinZip® Enterprise protects data in transit and at rest using AES-256 encryption. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a symmetric algorithm commonly used with many different cryptographic protocols, such as TLS and S/MIME.
With this encryption, cyber attackers cannot read the encrypted data even if they access files. This ensures your data (and the data of clients or customers) is protected.
WinZip Enterprise is so much more than just an encryption tool. In addition to its industry-leading cryptography, companies that use WinZip Enterprise also leverage its data management, sharing, compression, and backup functionalities.
Your sensitive data is protected in transit, at rest, and during backups with WinZip. We also offer a variety of advanced security features, such as password protocols and reporting and analytics tools.