What is Data Encryption and Why should you use it?

Who used encrypted data & why

The word encryption is relatively less know but has large role to play. Irrespective of what you do over the internet and your smartphone you are affected by the changing technology either knowingly or unknowingly and so with data encryption. All the emails you send, the bank account you use, passwords you set and even the WhatsApp messages you send are backed by encryption.

Data Encryption deals with transferring your data from one place to another in a “secure” form. The data being sent should be secure i.e. should not be understood by anyone else apart from the desired recipient. This might not sound important but it is worth giving attention when the data being sent if confidential and important.

The collection of data is just rising at alarming rate which raised the concern to have some form of security over the availability of data in human readable form. Data processing is in also gaining importance and the availability of types of data processing makes it easier to differentiate and segregate the data for later use. Encryption too can be considered as a part of data processing and a step of same.

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The data being sent by your end is just one step of the process involved. You types a message/ email in your mobile or PC but when you hit the “send” button it goes through multiple servers which are located in different parts of world. So, your confidential data travels all through the world before it can be delivered to the receiver. Definitely you would not like your passwords and account information to be made accessible and readable to anyone else. This is where data encryption comes into play. It changes or masks your “plain text” information using softwares which makes it impossible for humans to understand. This is does so as to prevent any misuse of the information regardless of what information is being sent. Along with masking the information it is also required that the receiver should get it in readable and understandable form otherwise the information being sent will be useless for the receiver too! This process of changing the masked information or encrypted information to readable form is called decryption. A software should be able to handle both the type of information and do the needful in order to be of any use.

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Should you care about encryption?

If you think that you need not worry about this then you are partially correct. The reason being most of the information and data being sent and received is automatically encrypted without your input. Data encryption is done as a global practice. Companies spend heavily to do this for you so that their services are secure and provide a good and secure user experience.

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But data encryption can also be done at your end. It is of special interest to people who have sensitive information on their PC/Mobile for which encryption services. Softwares can be used. It makes the data more secure and acts as extra layer of security in addition to standard passwords.

You need to particularly careful where and how you store your data. Also, a sharp eye should be kept on websites you use to check if they use encryption. Also, avoid entering your account and credit card details on websites where SSL is not available as lack of SSL might result in revealing your information to potential attackers.

Example of data encryption in daily life

Emails – Right from the beginning of logging in to your account to sending and receiving emails all the data is encrypted by the email service provider. You need not perform any additional task since this is done by the softwares working at end to secure your information.

Bank Transactions – All of your transactions related to money are encrypted by banks. Again you are not required to give any input apart from entering the passwords & OTPs to authenticate your payment. Everything is taken care of by the softwares. Data encryption is most essential in such services as this deals directly with money.

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WhatsApp & Facebook messages – All the chats and messages sent are again encrypted. You might have noticed that WhatsApp recently started displaying the option to encrypt your message with “end to end” encryption, its just an additional step in data encrypting each and every message.

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