Data encryption is probably the most important mechanism when it comes to data security. With encryption, you can protect data on a network, in a hard disc, and data in transit. Encryption ensures data cannot be read or accessed by unauthorized users. This way, data remains safe through communication channels, whether at rest or in motion.
What is data encryption?
This is a security method that encodes data making it accessible only using security keys or encryption keys. Encrypted data is also referred to as ciphertext and appears unreadable or scrambled to any entity or person trying to access it without the required security keys.
Why is it important?
Using strong encryption methods and effective security key management can protect sensitive data from modifications, unauthorized access, theft, and disclosure. This is what makes encryption a critical component of any data management protocol.
Ways that data can be encrypted and why it is important
Generally, if you have an online account, you risk data theft or exploitation. Data breaches have become common in the past few years and have affected companies like Home Depot, Facebook, Equifax, Yahoo, and even Target. These kinds of hacks risk data for anyone with online accounts with these service providers.
To secure your accounts, it is important to make use of a password manager. This service generates and saves complex passwords for all your accounts. This ensures you do not have to use the same password for every account, and you do not have to cram your passwords. Apart from generating and saving unique passwords, the best password managers monitor accounts for suspicious activity, suggest changes for weak passwords, and sync passwords between all your devices for easy access.
Use a VPN
One of the best ways to encrypt your data is by using a VPN as encryption tool. Also known as a Virtual Private Network, this is a necessary tool to have if you spend most of your time online and frequently use public Wi-Fi service.
A VPN adds an extra layer of security for your data by creating a secure transfer tunnel. It encrypts your traffic so other parties would not be able to access your private information. Consider using a VPN on your devices if you want to keep your data private.
Practice safe browsing
Every time you go online, websites and companies monitor your internet footprint. While this may seem harmful, cybercriminals also use these methods to track your activity, looking for the perfect opportunity to intercept your confidential information.
You can protect yourself from browser tracking by using a blocker extension. To make it harder for stalker ads, you can disable interest-based ads from Google, Facebook, Apple, and Twitter. Most websites offer you the option to opt-out of data collection, but you need to adjust these settings manually. You can opt-out from ads from sites such as Netflix and Reddit, among others.
Secure your computers and devices
Malicious programs on your devices can wreak havoc, from unwarranted bitcoin mining to cyber criminals sniffing for private information. You are also at risk of clicking on harmful links used to install malicious programs on computers and devices.
The only way to protect yourself from these risks is by having an updated antivirus program on all your devices. If your computer uses Windows 10, consider using Windows Defender as an antivirus option. For shared computers or computers using an older Windows version, consider installing any of market’s best antivirus programs.
For Mac users, the macOS comes with preinstalled security protocols, which work perfectly, especially if you only download your apps from the App Store. Malwarebytes premium can be used as an extra layer of protection for Mac users.
There are numerous risks involved when data is stored in plain sight. To protect your data from theft or exploitation, encryption using any of the methods highlighted in this article is recommended.