As the enterprise marches inexorably towards a cloud-dominated future, organizations must find ways to enable the competitive advantage of cloud computing without sacrificing the data privacy and security that legal regulations and industry best practices demand. Cloud computing creates a number of new security vulnerabilities and attack vectors, leading some to consider data breaches “inevitable.” Fortunately for the enterprise, the security issues created by the cloud are solvable using a technology with which most organizations are already familiar and comfortable: encryption. Here is why encryption (with exclusive enterprise control of encryption keys) is today’s top cloud data protection technology.
- Encryption eliminates the threat of exposure in the event of a breach
If data breaches are inevitable, then what’s an enterprise to do?
The solution is simple: encrypt sensitive data so that even if it is stolen, intercepted, or exposed, it remains completely unreadable to all except authorized parties. Data thieves might steal a terabyte of customer credit card information, but without the encryption key, not a single byte of that information will be of value to them or damaging to your organization, especially since proper encryption of data often qualifies it for safe harbor from mandatory breach notifications.
- Encryption can be applied as needed, where needed
Today’s encryption methods and data protection technologies allow for the granular, policy-driven application of encryption to the specific data fields that demand it, at exactly the encryption strengths required. This means that encryption does not have to be applied across the board, which would be far too resource-intensive a task for the enterprise to take on. By encrypting only the data that needs to be encrypted and carefully selecting the encryption strength and method most appropriate to each data type, organizations can keep sensitive data protected without weighing down their overall cloud operations.
- Encryption no longer means a loss of functionality
In days past, encryption could only realistically be applied in transit or at rest. In other words, while the data is en route to its destination, and while it is passive in storage at its destination. Unfortunately, that leaves data extremely vulnerable when it is actually in use by the cloud application. Cybercriminals know this, too: web applications are coming under increased attack by cybercriminals intent on accessing data while it is in the clear. Advances in encryption technology can now address this issue by preserving application functionalities such as search and sort while the data remains encrypted. The less time your data spends in the clear, the less vulnerable it is to exposure.
According to CipherCloud research, encryption is by far the most commonly required and used cloud data protection method in the enterprise. It is, however, not the only method. A robust cloud data protection strategy should include a wide variety of data protection methods and controls. To learn more about those methods and controls, and who’s using them, download our research report, Global Cloud Data Security Report: The Authority on How to Protect Data in the Cloud Q1 2015, today.