Contrasting the Different Data Encryption Techniques for Optimal Security

Proper data encryption is vital to modern data security and protection.
data encryption for data security
Shutterstock Photo License - By Joe Prachatree

Encryption is one of the many foundations of our digital economy. It has found its way into a significant portion of industries in the 21st Century. Many technologies now depend on good encryption algorithms to work well and promote data security. This is one of the many reasons that you need to understand how secure encryption works and how you can make it work for yourself.

There are multiple ways of securing data using encryption, and you have to know which method is appropriate for your situation. Different levels of encryption bring with it a lot of complexity, so you might use something that you don’t actually need.

This is why having a security professional who understands things like asymmetric encryption might be the key to you being successful in your work.

What Is Encryption?

Before we can discuss how to secure things with encryption, we have to understand what it is and how it works. Encryption is the act of using mathematical algorithms to scramble data and other digital information into an unrecognizable form. The only way you can put this data back together is by knowing the correct key. Think of it as a two-way algorithm that takes an input and spits out something that can only be undone using the right method.

Encryption is essential for the digital economy because we transmit so much information through the Internet. The Internet means anyone could spy on what you are doing, and they would be able to easily get personal information that you would not want to get out. Encryption algorithms are crucial to ensuring that this is something that never happens to you.

Why Does It Matter

All of this matters because everything is moving towards digital. Our world is digitizing at a rapid pace, and there is nothing that will stop this process from happening. In fact, many people now say that information is going to be the new oil. That is to say, that information is going to be more valuable than oil.

Oil has been the dominant resource on our planet for the last 100 years. It is what makes the modern world what it is, and we would not be here without it. With digital information replacing oil as the most valuable commodity, we will need many people to protect that digital information. It is going to make this digital information even more valuable than we ever thought possible.

Symmetric Encryption

This method of encryption involves only one key. Think of this as a master key that can unlock the information on every device. The main thing to note is that this method of encryption relies on the fact that everyone can be trusted. You are transmitting the most valuable key in the world, and if someone gets a hold of it, your data will become vulnerable. The key is the only thing that stops someone from getting access to what matters the most to you. Symmetric encryption is useful in situations where everyone that will receive the data is a trusted source.

This is when you are sending data to your friends over a secure medium that you don’t think will get compromised. This allows you to send the data and the key at the same time. This method of encryption is also called private key encryption. The major downside should be obvious to everyone. If anyone leaks the key, it is going to make the data almost useless for everyone. The entire world will be able to spy on you and see what you are doing when this happens.

Asymmetric Encryption

The main method of securing modern-day devices is called public and private key encryption. This is essentially where there are two keys, and one of them is used for encryption, and the next one is used for decryption. These keys can be paired together to form the basis for secure data in every situation. This is why this type of encryption is the most commonly used today. We use this type of encryption for securing bank information and other valuable resources.

The mathematical algorithms used to secure your data are almost impossible to defeat. In fact, it would take someone with the most powerful computer billions of years to even crack the most secure algorithms available today. The majority of videogame consoles also use this method of encryption, as they don’t want almost anyone running binary executables on their devices. This has led to piracy in previous years.

Hashing

Another way of using encryption on data is called hashing. However, this isn’t meant to protect data, but it is simply a way for you to make sure that you are receiving exactly what the sender intended to give you. Hashing is a way of making sure that the information you send to someone gets there securely. You simply run the hashing algorithm on the data before you send it, and then the person receiving can verify everything on their end.

If something goes wrong, the person receiving will be able to know that the data has changed in some way. This is because the hash will be different from the one you computed when you first made the data. This is essential for sending information on the Internet, as you never know who will be in the middle changing that data to suit their needs.

Future of Encryption

Ultimately, asymmetric encryption has been really great for our modern world. The future of encryption will depend on how quickly we can get different types of computers online. Big governments are always looking for ways to crack encryption, as even the most common criminals now have access to this technology.

Ryan Kh
Ryan Kh is an experienced blogger, digital content & social marketer. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Email: ryankh14@icloud.com