Data encryption is no longer the stuff of myth and legend belonging to the spy genre. It’s not just thrillingly brought to life on the small screen, big screen, or in the pages of novels. It is accurate, and it is here. Furthermore, it is in play every day to keep commercial data, including IP assets and sensitive files, safe. It helps UK businesses reach compliance with the security principle of GDPR. From our high street banking services to online shopping at home – encryption works globally 24/7, 365. It keeps data safe from misuse. The peace of mind it offers is priceless to all of us. So, just how important is it for small businesses? Let the experts at Synergy-UK explain.
The ICO defines encryption as: “a mathematical function that encodes data in such a way that only authorized users can access it.” It is fair to say that if you are authorized to access it, you must take care of it. By taking care of it, you take data protection seriously. Data encryption is vital to your IT Security Strategy and Risk Planning. Data is often said to be at its most vulnerable when it is in transit and when it is stored. Data stored is also known as data at rest. Files are ‘out of sight’ (when not being actively processed), so trust data encoding to guard it.
When data is in transit, you need data encryption to ensure:
Similarly, when data is stored (at rest), you need data encryption to ensure:
Data encryption means using a key to unlock the ciphertext. The ciphertext cannot be read or understood in any commercial way (as it’s scrambled). Once it is unlocked, it reverts to the original plaintext. The plaintext is of value to authorized – and potentially – unauthorized users alike. It’s a digital wall. Applying an algorithm to create the encryption ciphertext minimizes hacking risk.
When you use an ATM or make a call on a GSM mobile, data encryption keeps your files safe. When we send work emails remotely, we rely on encryption. It guards both your privacy and your safety when it comes to your files. Without encryption in our digital age, modern life could not function successfully. This is our simple yet sobering reality. We must stay alert. We must not take the fiscal freedoms and autonomy we enjoy as we go about our daily lives for granted.
You are just getting started in the marketplace. In the early days, you grow your business with the generation and nurture of two simple things: trust and loyalty. Your clients wish to spend with you once they are satisfied that your products and services meet or exceed their needs. Customers are more likely to offer repeat business if they feel the experience is always a professional one. Data encryption is one way to generate and nurture trust, loyalty, and professionalism. Do not hesitate when purchasing cryptography products and services. In comparison, you wouldn’t delay in the same way when buying Professional Indemnity insurance or Accountancy services.
The digital world grows more nuanced regarding the technologies available to us. So, too, does the level of risk small businesses are vulnerable to. This list grows in size and complexity all the time. Data encryption is now essential to business resilience. It is a clear business asset in response to the threat of attack. Examples include Artificial Intelligence-driven cyber-attacks or supply-chain attacks. Conducting due diligence on all business partners is now more critical than ever. This includes reviewing their cybersecurity policy, too. We all need to shore up any potential weaknesses. Do this to stay one step ahead. Know the business you are in completely – know your customers, your suppliers, and your competitors. To be a small business is to be in business – regardless of your current size. What you do as soon is of value to you and will be to others. The more successful you become, the more attractive your information becomes to hackers. You may need to spend more on cryptography, so know what it is you are purchasing. It is now essential to business resilience. It is a clear business asset in response to the threat of attack. Examples include Artificial Intelligence-driven cyber-attacks or supply-chain attacks. Conducting due diligence on all business partners is now more important than ever. This includes reviewing their own cybersecurity policy, too. We all need to shore up any potential weaknesses. Do this to stay one step ahead from day one. Know the business you are in – know your customers, your suppliers and your competitors. To be a small business is to be in business – regardless of your current size. What you do, as soon as you trade, is of value to you, and it will be to others. The more successful you become, the more attractive your data becomes to hackers. The more data encryption you may need so know what it is you are purchasing, inside and out.
UpGuard blogger Kyle Chin outlines a set of small and big businesses suffering recent and catastrophic breaches. They arose because of hacking activity. His list includes high street names we all love and trust to our cherished national institutions. From his blog, it is apparent hackers know no bounds. Plus, the impact is always devastating for all.
The Cybersecurity Breaches Survey 2023 says formal incident response plans are not widespread. Only 21% of businesses and 16% of charities have them ready. Ensure everyone in your team knows what to do. Ensure they have the confidence to act fast – day or night. The National Cybersecurity Centre’s Cybersecurity Breaches Survey 2022 says 39% of all UK businesses reported a cyber-attack between March 2020 – February 2021. The threat to your data is accurate. The power of data encryption only comes to light when data breaches occur. Using the highest standards of encryption appropriate for you and your business means you prove digital resilience. You can demonstrate you are aware of the threats posed. You are undertaking all reasonable steps to conduct your business well. It shows the level of preparation you have done to meet and repel such threats. You show business confidence in yourself and what you do. The message you send is that you fully intend to establish your niche. You intend to consolidate it and grow it – year-on-year. You are here for the long haul. Furthermore, you intend to do this successfully and securely. Encryption allows you to own your business model if you will. Trust and loyalty to secure business credibility.
The UK Data Service confirms that: “…some types of encryption provide greater protection than others, the type and level of encryption used should correspond to the sensitivity of the data being protected. As a general rule, more bits equals stronger encryption, therefore, 256-bit encryption is stronger than 128-bit encryption; the latter should, ideally, be the minimum level of encryption used.”
The barriers to ease are cost and volume, which affect the time it can take. It takes time to apply encryption protection to every data touchpoint. It would help if your desktops, laptops and USB’s were secure as a start. It would be best if you had the highest standard of data encryption concerning the sensitivity level of the data you process. Think about how you actively process, transfer, and store your data. Pick the algorithm and the software that suits you and how you do business. Consult the encryption experts at Synergy-UK to show you how.
Worst-case scenarios vary in complexity. This depends on the nature of the threat. It is wise to avoid a data breach at all costs. When data becomes lost or stolen, potential fallout can be severe. It can lead to the issuing of financial penalties from the regulators. It could result in litigation potential. This could be from lawsuits filed against your business by affected third parties. You could risk business closure. It can lead to unending downtime. You could lose share price value and a substantial amount of brand equity. You could lose the intangible treasures every small business cherishes. They are trust and loyalty. Your market share could go elsewhere – overnight and permanently.
The data encryption experts at Synergy-UK are here to help. Established in 1996, we have been trading for over 25 years. We offer IT support and services in Sheffield and throughout South Yorkshire. Know that we don’t tie our customers to contracts. Our customers have stayed with us due to our excellent quality of work. Contact us today to discuss all your encryption needs. We offer encryption support to software.