The Problem with Old Encryption Methods

Encryption is Vital

Mission success depends on organizational data and communications staying protected. It behooves organizations, therefore, to shroud their comms and data with encryption. So why don’t they? Why don’t organizations and agencies rush out and implement at least some form of encryption? Why don’t they make encryption a top priority? Well, it’s not as easy as just pressing a button, but perhaps not for the reasons you think. Let’s examine encryption, some of the things that prevent organizations from adopting it, and some of the disasters that can occur without it.

Encryption is Nothing New

As soon as the first person had a secret they wanted to tell another, without the whole world knowing, encryption was born. (We’ve covered some of this before in our blog about Dual Encryption. Take a read for some extra background into the history of encryption.) Encryption of one form or another has been used to protect trade secrets, important communications, and military intelligence.

All encryption is based on ciphers — rules of reorganizing the information so its actual meaning is hidden from anyone who doesn’t know the rules. In a simplistic model, the ciphers work with special keys to lock up the data, and the same key (symmetric encryption) or a different key (asymmetric encryption) unlocks the data and allows it to be deciphered.

Since encryption was first born, however, others have been working hard at breaking encryption. And so, encryption methods have grown more and more complex. The current accepted standard of encryption is AES-256 encryption which creates digital keys 256 characters long. Brute force (i.e., guessing all random combinations) a number that size would take a billion times longer than the age of the universe.

So, encryption has been around a long time, which brings the question again: Why aren’t organizations adopting encryption for all their data and communications?

Encryption Costs Time

Encryption doesn’t just happen. A method must be chosen, procedures must be implemented, users must be trained, and then everyone actually needs to use the encryption. All this disruption to the current way of doing things takes time. Lots and lots of time, especially the “everyone actually using it” part.

Encryption adds extra steps to workflow and users are notorious for going around company policy if it slows down their work. A new report from Symphony Communication Services shows 24% report they are “aware of IT security guidelines yet are not following them;” “27% knowingly connect to an unsecure network;” and “25% share confidential information through [unsecure] collaboration platforms.”

This is very troublesome when incorporating encryption into your organization. For encryption to protect properly, everyone needs to be using it instead of finding ways around it. A report by the Government Business Council showed that of those Defense employees who admit to using their personal devices to conduct agency work, 94% say their devices have not been approved by the agency. Once again, more evidence that users are choosing convenience over security—choosing to save time over protecting the organization. Time, then, is the true cost (and problem) with old encryption methods.

Automated Encryption is the Future

In the future, encryption will be easier for organizations to adopt because it will all be handled behind the scenes. You’ll simply log in to a program (which will handle all the key exchanges and encryption/decryption) and let it run in the background. You will then be able to send encrypted messages as easy as sending a regular chat message—no extra steps needed. You’ll be able to encrypt files that only the specific users you selected will be able to open (even if the user is just yourself). And this encryption will be available on desktop and mobile devices, all working together to ensure your organization’s encryption.

Think that sounds like a pipe dream? Too good to be true? Too far out in the future? What if we told you the future was in the final stage of development and testing, and will be ready for release very soon? It has a name: Conclave. It has a purpose: to make sure you use encryption and protect your organization without all the extra steps. To learn how our automated encryption solutions can help secure your data, users, and organization, please contact us today!

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