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If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ll know that encryption can be a controversial subject. The Marriott Group’s hack allowed 500 million client’s personal data to be stolen and distributed all over the Internet. For about 327 million of the 500 million affected, the data stolen included information such as passport numbers, emails, date of birth, gender and mailing addresses. So if you’ve stayed at a Marriott, your data could be for sale on the Dark Web. This is the largest loss of personal data ever reported. Sadly, the simple fact is, it could have been easily and inexpensively avoided by having proper managed encryption in place. In a post GDPR world, this attack has a huge impact on the data protection landscape. It also highlights the criminal enterprises who are trying to gain access to your clients’ personal information.

So, what actually is encryption, and what does the controversy surrounding it mean for your business? If you encrypt your data, you turn it into ineligible data that can only be read by those with access to a decryption key, which turns the data back into a legible format. Let’s say you’re a business who regularly sends your clients’ addresses from one member of your team to another. Using encryption would add another layer of security to that information as you are sending it, meaning that if you fall foul of a cyber attack (or accidentally send it to the wrong recipient!), your clients’ data is far less likely to land in the wrong person’s hands in a readable form. Ultimately, the encryption of your data protects your business from falling over to the wrong side of the GDPR regulations.

Keeping Compliant: how effective encryption can secure your clients' data.

Processing the figures: how can effective encryption make a difference to your business?

It probably goes without saying that whatever industry you’re in, having a solid foundation of privacy is only ever going to be a good thing. Whether it’s your organisation’s bank details, your clients’ email addresses or even simply their full names, it is vital that the information you promise you’re keeping private is only ever seen by the people who need to be seeing it. In effect, encryption makes it more difficult for prying eyes to see privileged information; even if your IT infrastructure is compromised, an encryption solution will mean hackers can’t use any of the data they find. This will mean that as well as keeping your customers’ personal details safe, your business’s reputation will also stay intact, so long as you can prove to the ICO and the public that you were taking a series of measures to make sure your clients’ data stays protected.

How does encryption work?

As technology moves forward, the algorithms and solutions used for securing data have had to evolve quickly in order to stay one step ahead of potential cyber threats. Because of this, encryption has become one of the most popular and effective ways for businesses to make sure their personal information is safe, and so should be a crucial element of your data security strategy. Most encryption solutions are made up of two main types of ciphers; a symmetric key cipher, and asymmetric cryptography. Both of these processes use encryption keys to decode their data. The longer and more complicated the key is, the harder it is for hackers to break into your systems.

In symmetric key cipher encryption, the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt your information - so both the sender and receiver of the data you’re processing decode the message in the same way. This kind of encryption is a much more traditional method of protecting your data, making it susceptible to cyber threats because the key has to be exchanged between the people reading it. The process of exchanging the keys means it is more likely to be taken advantage of by hackers.

To solve this potential weakness of symmetric encryption, asymmetric encryption has been developed as a more modern way of keeping your data safe, even while cyber threats evolve and change. Instead of using the same key, asymmetric encryption uses a pair of public and private keys, meaning another layer of protection is added to the data exchange process. While the public key can be shared with anyone as it is meaningless on its own, the private encryption key is kept secret. If the private encryption key doesn’t correspond with the public key, the data cannot be decrypted.

Keeping Compliant: how effective encryption can secure your clients' data

Whichever encryption process you make use of, your data security strategy should have encryption at the heart of it. As technology evolves and your business’s infrastructure becomes decentralised through IoT, it’s important that your whole IT system is protected, not just individual solutions. Protecting data not only involves securing access to data, protecting against network hacking, but also includes locking the data itself.

If you lock your data with encryption, there is nothing there. Even if your network is compromised and the data is stolen, nobody can read it. This gets you out of a lot of uncomfortable discussions with your partners, clients and the ICO. Whether you work from a PC, tablet, or even your mobile for answering emails on the go, encryption can be applied to your data wherever it resides.By incorporating an encryption solution that covers the whole of your infrastructure, you can make sure that there’s no room for error, protecting your clients’ data no matter how you interact with them.  

At CIS, we go the extra mile to make sure that your entire infrastructure is protected from cyber attacks. Contact us for personalised security strategies like managed encryption that will future-proof your business’s reputation.  

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Client Feedback

“We are delighted to be working with CIS, the project is already looking well organised and innovative. CIS delivers a prompt professional service with trusted knowledge we can rely on at all times.”

John Story, Head of IT

St Paul's Cathedral

“CIS have been our go-to IT supplier for nearly 20 years, and throughout that time they have been flexible, consultative, and above all putting our business at the forefront of their advice. I would be very pleased to recommend them for any company that needs to have a real partnership with their IT company.”

Graham Hughes, Managing Director

Rovema UK Ltd

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Since its inception in 1989 CIS' philosophy has always been the same. We believe that in order for our team mates to provide the best possible service to our clients and to remain motivated and inspired themselves, we have to create a positive and stimulating working environment. One that encourages ambition, a continued exchange of ideas and dialogue, hard work, performance and loyalty. We have always rewarded our staff for going the extra mile and for embracing our company ethos but we also aim to make their working experience enjoyable and fun, working on the basis that humour can go a long way and fairness and respect are paramount.

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Even though we say this ourselves, our portfolio is first class. We offer a range and quality of Cloud Services that can cater for all our customers' business goals and aspirations. It's our job to find the perfect solution for your requirements and you'll benefit from the research and development carried out by our team to find the ideal system solutions for you.

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It has always been of key importance to CIS to achieve high levels of productivity and to ensure that we remain s highly effective, lean and fast-moving organisation. It allows us to keep ahead of the game and to spot and act upon new products and trends whenever possible. By keeping on our toes, we can pass on benefits to our clients and partners without the need for time consuming learning curves.