Corporate data breaches and system hacks are media darlings these days. Since the infamous Target incident, it seems that a major breach is reported on a weekly basis. You may have heard the media use “encryption” in a number of contexts. When it comes to digital security, defining and acting on encryption is one of the most important things a company can implement. To get ahead, one can look to the past.
In World War II, the Allies and the Axis fought their war with tanks, planes, and soldiers, but they also fought with code. Radio-based communications were easy to intercept, so codes were needed to keep those communications encrypted. The Allies won the war in large part because they cracked the Nazis’ “Enigma” code through the work of Alan Turing and other code-breakers.
Interestingly enough, modern digital communications are just as easy to intercept. When sensitive data, like financial information, needs to be transmitted, it is essential that it’s securely encrypted to keep hostile hackers from accessing that data and abusing it. When data isn’t securely encrypted, it can be a nightmare. Look at the recent data breach at Target or the revelation that corporations have been allowing the NSA to access user data for examples of the sort of PR nightmare that can arise when data is not secure.
Also, some encryption algorithms are better than others. While a piece of software may say it is secure, it may use a relatively simplistic piece of encryption that is easy to crack.
When it’s time to purchase accounting software, set up an ecommerce platform, or set up file transfer protocols within your company, you need to make sure that you purchase software that utilizes top-of-the-line encryption to protect sensitive information. Encryption is not a corner you can cut. If you do decide to use insecure software that does a poor job of encrypting, you might find yourself with a PR nightmare of your own. Encrypt your data now or pay the price down the line.