Using encryption to secure your data
Jan 10

Using encryption to secure your data

You need accurate information to thrive and grow. You are capturing more and more information about your customers to deliver tailored services and options. Technology has evolved to help you capture and manage your data – in increasing volumes. You may be using large databases to help you manage your information and analytical tools to analyse Big Data. Your customers are also more aware. They want to know how you are storing their personal data and, more importantly, how you are using it. New and updated legislation, such as GDPR, helps make sure you capture and use your customers data appropriately. But are you adequately protecting your data?  With recent news articles exposing serious data breaches, never has the security of your information been more critical or apparent. Have you thought about using encryption to secure your data?

Data security and protection options

When thinking about data security, you may, like most businesses have firewalls and various systems in place. These protect your information from external attacks. You may also have financial systems that obfuscate data on screen as you enter details such as credit card numbers.

And if you have a cloud-based system, your external provider will offer a range of measures to safe-guard your information.

Systems that only obfuscate data as it is displayed on screen often store the data unencrypted and intact.  This means that anyone with direct access to the database can access the information.

In addition, some cloud application providers have the right to access your data at any time as part of their Terms and Conditions.

Using encryption to secure your data will help protect it from potential internal and external security breaches. You do not use encryption instead of your other data and access controls  – but in addition to.  This gives you an extra layer of security and access control.

Benefits of using encryption to secure your data

Encrypting the source data within the database will provide you with an additional layer of protection. By encrypting the data at source, only those users with access to the software application which consumes the data – which can be securely controlled using different authentication methods such as LDAP or Active Directory – can view the data in its unencrypted form.

Some cloud-based applications offer additional modules to encrypt all the data within the application.

Flexible encryption permissions and rules that can be managed by your team provide your business with greater control over data security whilst ensuring your users have access to the information they need to do their job.  These rules could be based on the type of record being viewed, the user’s role within a study or account, or simply the status of the record, for example.

Advanced encryption capability gives you the ability to choose the data fields, that you want to encrypt, such as a Date of Birth, Reference Number and Surname.  As a result your users can see other data collected about your customers that they need for their job, while you continue to protect confidential information.

In addition, you may need to decrypt/encrypt your data if accessed, for example, through APIs, reporting tools and queries to comply with your security requirements.

In summary

When implementing data security protocols consider using encryption to secure your data and discuss this with your application suppliers to evaluate the options available within their software.

About The Author

Sharon Williams has over 20 years’ experience of helping businesses successfully implement Sample Management Software and CRM systems. Appreciating that the software will deliver significant business change and improvements, Sharon guides businesses to help optimise these benefits. This includes advice on how to obtain user buy-in, evaluating and redefining existing business processes and how to gain a better understanding of their data to provide invaluable insight and inform business decisions.