Batten down those hatches, or as Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman recently said, “The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything.” The series of Edward Snowden disclosures of 2013 have blown the lid off any false sense of security that consumers may have been harboring about the security of their data and the same can be said for those in the business of handling sensitive information. Not long ago, it was the “cybercriminal”, some nefarious gang of hackers with too much time on their hands and too much technology at their disposal, that were the suspects of cyber-criminal activities.
That has changed, possibly for a long time to come. ISPs, CSPs, cellphone carriers, and other information management providers, are taking heed. Microsoft has come out of the gate strong, claiming it will take the “best-in-class industry cryptography” for services such as Outlook.com, Office 365 and SkyDrive. Yahoo, which had not done so prior, plans to encrypt all of its customers’ data, even emails, within the first quarter of 2014. And it’s not just the big IT firms, SMBs (small-medium businesses) are making encryption a part of their strategy for 2014, as well.
Though the focus of most stories will continue to be about NSA hacking, many have already jumped to the next conclusion, which is that if the NSA can do it, so can individuals and organizations that actually wish to profit from the illegal trafficking of personally identifying information (PII). And so in this way the focus of IT service providers will be to develop and implement stronger encryption that can deter the efforts to “backdoor” into data by any unauthorized person or entity.
Wheat from Chafe
Other insiders suggest that companies determine the 5%-15% of their data that is truly confidential, and focus encryption on that. To further protect this data, employees should be barred from accessing it using desktop and laptop machines, or their own mobile devices, i.e., smartphones or tablets, which are easily infected by malware. Only employees using secure or “hardened” computers should be able to access it.
Insiders say that given the continually improved sophistication of malware, enclaves of data, versus wholesale repositories, will be the trend for the year. And this requires robust encryption software (Source: https://www.winmagic.com/). Encryption is a type of software that will provide an extra layer of security to protect data from being hacked. The way it works is simple and the security it provides an organization with is invaluable. In today’s world we are seeing more and more breaches making headline news. Just this year Target had a major security breach that affected over a hundred million people. The hackers gained access to credit card information and other sensitive data. Believe it or not if Target had an encryption solution in place, the hackers would not have been able to access this data because of the extra layer of security and this could have saved them millions of dollars. So, perhaps this year could be called the year of the Horse of Encryption.