Why Your Email Isn't the Only Thing That Should Be Encrypted

iQuanti: Today, encrypted email is among the safest ways for companies and individuals to send and receive highly sensitive data. However, it is often difficult to set up and problematic to use, with end-to-end encryption only working correctly when both parties (sender and receiver) use a set of keys or the same software to encrypt and subsequently decrypt the content contained within the email.

For this reason, true email encryption is rarely used. When it is used, any deviation from the encryption/decryption protocols can either leave information completely inaccessible to the parties involved or simply accessible by anyone who cares to look—a huge issue when dealing with the most sensitive corporate data.

However, when used correctly, email encryption is essentially unbreakable, offering the most secure way to share data currently available. For this reason, many companies are now looking toward encrypting other types of data to increase security and prevent data breaches.

The bottom line is that encryption offers an extra layer of security and protection against data breaches and other cybersecurity threats when it comes to the most sensitive types of data. However, what exactly should your company encrypt? Here, we look at what you should prioritize when considering encryption and why your email isn't the only thing that should be encrypted.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) 

Any personally identifiable information is a good candidate for encryption. We're talking about employee records that contain driver's license information or a social security number, for example. Additionally, customer records with payment information or other sensitive information can also be a target.

Most commonly, cyberattackers attempt to access this type of information to steal identities and use that information to commit fraud. Encrypting this kind of data significantly reduces the risks associated with data breaches, as any data that can be stolen will remain essentially inaccessible.

Intellectual Property 

Your company's intellectual property is essentially its lifeblood, and any threat to this data can have serious repercussions. Therefore, all of your intellectual property such as product release documents, research and development data, financial reports, and forecasts, should be encrypted to ensure it is kept out of the hands of cyberattackers.

If this information does fall into the hands of unscrupulous operators, it can be used to extort cash from your company or even sold to your competitors, who can then undermine your entire operation. For these reasons, your intellectual property should always be fully encrypted and guarded closely.

Legal Documentation 

Contracts and other legal documentation are highly sensitive and, wherever possible, should be fully encrypted. This will ensure that things such as tax returns, payroll reports, owners' agreements, and supplier agreements are always safe and cannot be used as leverage against your company.

If these types of documents are leaked, competitors may use them to undercut your supplies or contractors, or even initiate a hostile takeover of your company. Encrypting these documents means that any data breaches will not affect your legal documentation.

At the end of the day, encrypting sensitive data can be expensive and time-consuming, so your company should carefully consider which documents and data should be protected. Additionally, you will need to establish how this data will be shared and who will have access to your encryption protocols.

However, once these considerations have been taken into account, there's little argument that encrypting all of the above data is the safest way to protect your company from cybersecurity threats.

Source: iQuanti, Inc.

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Categories: IT Security

Tags: cybersecurity, email security, it security, ransomware