Data Encryption in EIM solutions
When using any software application, data is transferred from one place to another – email, internet browsing, saving a file to a network share. All of these processes require that bits get moved across a wire. And, yes, even if you implement a wireless network, those same bits are exposed. Normally this data is internal to a secured network, so no outside snoopers can gain access to your “private” data. But, what about a malicious user that happens to be inside your company?
Exposed data becomes even more of a concern when placed in the context of Electronic Information Management, or EIM, solutions. With a variety of data types and document classifications, encrypting data in EIM becomes not only a priority, but a necessity.
What is data encryption?
Data encryption is the process of translating data into another, secure form so that only people with access to the decryption, or secret, key can read it. We call this encrypted data, “ciphertext” and unencrypted data is known as “plaintext.” The primary purpose of changing plaintext to ciphertext is to protect digital data confidentiality as it is stored and transmitted.
Encryption in transit
Have you seen the icons in your browser address bar that say not secure? This warning is indicating that the connection from your browser to the server application is unencrypted and transmitting data in plaintext. Cyber snoopers can easily capture data being transmitted.
Instead, what you want to see is the “lock” in your browser address. Notice the “https” next to the lock, indicating Secure HTTP protocol and data being transmitted in ciphertext, thereby securing your connection to the server. Any EIM solution your company chooses to implement should be capable of securing data in transit.
Encryption at Rest
While encrypting network communication is extremely important when implementing EIM solutions, ensuring the end storage point of your data has encryption may be an even greater priority. HR information, payment card information (PCI), personal health information (PHI) documents or any other data can personally identify an individual, and company sensitive data such as patent or budgeting data can be located in your storage volumes. If not secured as ciphertext or whole volume encryption, malicious users potentially could share company knowledge outside your organization, causing massive profit loss and irreparable harm. Some solutions are able to encrypt volumes natively, but others are not. Research is critical to any implementation, and ensuring the EIM solution utilize storage encryption is a requirement.