Encrypted Data at Rest - Explained, Importance and Methods

 Encryption of data while it is kept is a vital component of cybersecurity, since it prevents data from being an easy target for hackers. Encrypting data while it is stored has become a necessary precaution for any company that is concerned about its information security since hackers are always coming up with new and more ingenious ways to access businesses' information and steal it.

Encrypted Data at Rest - Explained, Importance and Methods

This article serves as an introduction to encrypting data while it is stored. Continue reading to get an understanding of the significance of encrypting static data and to discover the procedures that businesses do to ensure the security of their stored assets.

At rest encryption

What Exactly Is Data That Is Resting?

The term "data at rest" refers to information that is currently stored on a computer in some sort of digital representation. This data type is now dormant, thus there will be no transfer of data between any devices or locations on the network. There is not a single program, service, tool, third party, or employee that is actively using the information in question.

At rest is not a permanent data state. The data in a file is considered to be "in transit" if it has been sent over a network in response to a request for that file. The data are considered to be in a "in-use" state as soon as someone (or anything) begins to process a file.

Both organized and unstructured data are included in data that is now at rest. The following are some examples of locations where a firm may keep data when it is "at rest":

  • Drives, both hard and solid-state, found in computers and laptops.
  • Servers for managing databases
  • The cloud itself.
  • At a data center that is owned and operated by a third party.
  • Devices at the edge of the network and portable storage (mobile phones, USBs, tablets, portable hard drives, etc.).
  • NAS stands for "network-attached storage" (NAS).

A hacker's primary focus should be on data that is not actively being used. In contrast to the individual packets of data that are traveling via a network, the data that is stored statically generally has a logical organization and appropriate file names. Data that is not actively being used generally includes the most sensitive and important information about the firm, such as:

  • Financial papers (past transactions, bank accounts, credit card numbers, etc.).
  • Ownership of ideas and creations (product information, business plans, schematics, code, etc.).
  • Contacts.
  • Marketing data (user interactions, strategies, directions, leads, etc.).
  • Personal information about employees and customers.
  • Healthcare data.
  • Contracts.
  • Details about the supply chain

In contrast to data that is "at rest," which does not change, this data really "moves" about. Companies often duplicate files while they are resting in virtualized settings, back up drives to off-site facilities, let staff take laptops home, communicate data through portable devices, and other similar practices.

Encrypting data at rest is something that a firm should do in order to protect the data's privacy and keep it secure. The technique of converting a piece of data into text that seems to be meaningless and that cannot be deciphered by an unauthorized individual (or machine) is known as encryption.

What exactly does "Data at Rest Encryption" refer to?

Encryption of data while it is "at rest" is a cybersecurity strategy that encrypts data that is kept in order to prevent unwanted access. The use of encryption transforms data into unintelligible ciphertext; hence, the decryption key is required in order to restore files to their original condition.

In the event that an unauthorized individual has access to encrypted data but is not in possession of the decryption key, the intruder will need to circumvent the encryption in order to decode the data. Accessing data on an unencrypted hard drive is substantially simpler and uses less resources than this method, which is significantly more difficult.

Encrypting data while it is stored is an essential part of data security, and the process lowers the risk of data loss or theft under the following circumstances:

  • A data leak.
  • Lost or stolen gadgets.
  • Accidental disclosure of the password.
  • Accidental permission giving.
  • Data leaking.

Symmetric cryptography is used in the majority of at-rest encryption implementations. In symmetric encryption, the same key is used to both encrypt and decrypt the data, in contrast to asymmetric encryption, which uses one key to scramble data (the public key) and another key to decode files (private key). When speed and responsiveness are the primary concerns for a security team, as is generally the case with data that is resting, symmetric cryptography is typically the method of choice.

Regrettably, data encryption has other purposes beyond only that of a protective mechanism. Ransomware is a perilous kind of cyberattack that encrypts company data and requires businesses to pay a ransom in order to get the decryption key. Criminals utilize cryptography to carry out ransomware assaults.

Even when a comprehensive response strategy is in place, ransomware attacks often result in the irreversible loss of data. For this reason, many companies place a significant emphasis on ransomware prevention strategies.

The Difference Between Data That Is In Transit And Data That Is At Rest

Data that is actively travelling from one point to another, such as via the internet or through a private network, is considered to be data that is in transit or data that is in motion. The protection of this data while it is moving from one network to another or while it is being transferred from a local storage device to a cloud storage device is an example of data protection in transit. Whenever data is being moved from one location to another, it is essential to implement efficient data protection measures for the data that is in transit because data is frequently regarded as being less secure while it is in motion.

Data that is saved on a hard drive, laptop, or flash drive, or that has been archived or kept in some other manner, are examples of data that are considered to be "at rest." Data that is actively traveling from device to device or network to network is not considered to be "at rest." The goal of data security when the data are inactive is to ensure their safety while they are stored on any device or network. Although data that is not moving is often thought to be less susceptible than data that is, attackers frequently discover that data that is not moving is a more lucrative target than data that is moving. The risk profile for either the data while they are in transit or while they are at rest is dependent on the security mechanisms that are in place to safeguard the data when it is in either condition.

It is vital for contemporary businesses to protect sensitive data both while it is in transit and while it is at rest. This is because cybercriminals are always developing new methods to infiltrate systems and steal data.

The Importance of Encryption in the Process of Data Protection Both While in Transit and While It Is Stored

Both when in transit and while it is at rest, data is vulnerable to various dangers and thus needs security in both stages. As a consequence of this, there is not just one method for securing data while it is in transit or while it is stored. Encryption is an essential component of data security and a widely used method for ensuring the safety of data while it is both in transit and while it is stored. Enterprises often opt to encrypt sensitive data before to transferring it and/or employ encrypted connections (HTTPS, SSL, TLS, FTPS, etc.) to safeguard the contents of data while it is in transit. This is done for the purpose of providing security while the data is being moved. Encrypting important files before saving them on a company's storage drive or choosing to encrypt the drive itself are both viable options for businesses looking to safeguard data when it is not actively being used.

Data protection best practices both while the data are in transit and when they are stored

There are effective security methods that enable strong data protection across endpoints and networks that can protect data in both states, whether it is in transit or at rest. These measures can secure data while it is either at rest or in transit, depending on the context. Encryption of data is, as was said above, one of the most effective data security measures that can be used for data both while it is in transit and while it is at rest.

In addition to encryption, the following are some recommended practices for providing effective data security for data both while it is in transit and while it is at rest:

Controls for effective network security should be implemented to assist secure data while it is in transit. Firewalls and other network security solutions, such as network access control, will assist in protecting the networks that are used to transfer data from being compromised by malware assaults or intrusions.

When it comes to protecting your sensitive corporate data, you shouldn't depend on reactive security. Use proactive security measures that can detect data that is at risk and put in place effective data protection for data both while it is in transit and while it is being stored.

Choose solutions for data protection that have policies that enable users to be prompted, blocked, or encrypted automatically for sensitive data while it is in transit. This includes situations in which files are attached to an email message, moved to cloud storage, removable drives, or transferred elsewhere.

Create policies for systematically categorizing and classifying all of the company's data, regardless of where it resides, in order to ensure that the appropriate data protection measures are applied while data remains at rest and triggered when data that is classified as at-risk is accessed, used, or transferred. This will ensure that the appropriate data protection measures are applied while data remains at rest and will ensure that the appropriate data protection measures are applied while data remains at rest.

Last but not least, if you want to store your data or apps in the cloud, whether it be a public, private, or hybrid cloud, you should carefully analyze cloud suppliers based on the security measures that they provide; nevertheless, you should not depend on the cloud service to safeguard your data. Important questions to ask include those pertaining to who has access to your data, how it is secured, and how frequently backups are performed on your data.

The inherent risk is primarily determined by the sensitivity and value of your data; attackers will attempt to gain access to valuable data whether it is in motion, at rest, or actively being used, depending on which state is easiest to breach. While data in transit and data at rest may have slightly different risk profiles, the inherent risk is primarily determined by the value and sensitivity of your data. Because of this, the safest and most effective method to secure your most sensitive data in every state is to take a proactive strategy that includes classifying and categorizing data in conjunction with security measures that are aware of the content, the user, and the context.

How Encryption Works When It's Not Being Used

The process of converting one kind of data into another kind of data that cannot be decrypted by unauthorized users is what we mean when we talk about data encryption. For instance, you kept a copy of a paid invoice containing the customer's credit card details on your server after the invoice was paid. That is something that should not, under any circumstances, go into the wrong hands. You are effectively transforming the sensitive data of your customers into a different kind of data when you encrypt the data while it is at rest. This is often accomplished by the use of an algorithm that is incomprehensible to a user who does not possess the encryption key necessary to decode the information. Your data will remain protected since only authorized individuals will have access to these files. This will ensure the safety of your information.

Accounts Should Be Given Based on Roles

The first thing you should do is consult with your IT department to formulate a plan for the protection of your data. However, you will also have to ensure that only authorized users may access it. Most of the time, a security breach happens totally by mistake, as when one of your staff does it. Establishing multiple layers of security and limiting administrative access to your encrypted data to a select group of key personnel are both good ways to prevent something like this from occurring in your organization. The Role-Based Access Control, or RBAC, system enables users to set varying degrees of rights and security across their networks.

Using several forms of authentication will keep your data safe.

If you only use your username and password as a form of authentication, you leave yourself open to attack from hackers, who will easily be able to steal your data, copy it, or share it with others. Using multiple forms of authentication is the most reliable method for overcoming this challenge. Users are required to login with something they already possess (like a username) in addition to something they already know (like a password). Users will only be granted access to company data if they are able to successfully possess both factors. Multiple factors of authentication not only safeguards your business, but it also protects the sensitive information of your customers.

Do you need assistance with improving the safety of your data? A free security audit will help you gain a better understanding of the vulnerabilities that currently exist within your system. Get in touch with us today to get started.

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