The Power of Data Encryption

The numbers paint an ugly picture. dc - The Power of Data Encryption - graphic1

According to a study, 43% of today’s cyber attacks are aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. And yet, just 14% of those businesses are capable of defending their networks and data.

This is a major problem — not just for businesses targeted by cyber criminals, but also for the economy as a whole. Research from IBM finds that the average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.45 million in 2023. And a recent report from Apple and MIT found that in the first three quarters of last year alone, ransomware attacks increased by nearly 70%.

In short, stealing data is big business — and getting bigger. At the same time, access points to data have never been more prevalent — or vulnerable.

Given all this, it’s critical for businesses of all sizes to invest in data encryption. 

What encryption does

While the most obvious use of data encryption is to keep private information private, it’s not the sole reason a business should invest in it. Other use cases include:

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon1

Keeping cybercriminals at bay: In the unfortunate event of a data breach, encrypted data remains useless to cyber criminals. This reduces the potential damage and limits the exposure of sensitive information.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon2Meeting compliance needs: Many regulatory frameworks, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), require organizations to protect sensitive data through encryption. A failure to do so can lead to legal repercussions and hefty fines.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon3Making data transmissions secure: Encryption is vital for securing data during transmission over networks. It prevents eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks, ensuring data reaches its intended recipient intact and confidential.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon4Keeping customer loyalty: Customers are more likely to trust organizations that take data security seriously — so much so that having a reputation for secure handling of data is often a differentiator when it comes to keeping customers loyal.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - graphic2

Current data encryption best practices

What does investing in data encryption look like? 

Security measures are always evolving — as are the tactics of criminals — but there are some current best practices every business should follow. At Dynamic Computing, we regularly recommend:

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon5
Implementing strong encryption algorithms like Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and/or Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA)

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon6
Following proper key management to ensure encryption keys are generated securely, stored in a protected environment, and regularly rotated

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon7
Employing hardware security modules (HSMs) to safeguard keys from unauthorized access

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon8
Utilizing end-to-end encryption for sensitive communications and data storage

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon9
Properly classifying data based on its sensitivity so you can allocate resources effectively

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon10
Conducting regular auditing and monitoring to spot potential vulnerabilities

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon11
Combining encryption with multi-factor authentication (MFA) to require users to provide multiple forms of authentication

Beyond these important technical steps, one of the most critical areas to focus on is security education for employees. Human errors remain a leading cause of data breaches, and regular training can go a long way toward ensuring data stays safe across its lifecycle.

The role of IT

IT providers and departments play a central role in implementing and maintaining data encryption practices within organizations. The long list of responsibilities include:

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon12Infrastructure selection 
IT professionals are responsible for choosing the appropriate hardware and software solutions for data encryption. This includes selecting encryption tools, cryptographic libraries, and hardware security modules (HSMs) to protect encryption keys.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon13Encryption configuration
IT teams configure encryption settings for various applications, databases, and storage systems. They ensure that encryption is properly implemented and encryption keys are securely stored.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon1Key management
Managing encryption keys is a critical task for IT departments. They generate, store, rotate, and monitor encryption keys to prevent unauthorized access.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon15Security patching
Keeping encryption software and hardware up to date is essential. IT professionals regularly apply security patches and updates to protect against known vulnerabilities.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon16Incident response
In the event of a data breach or security incident, IT teams play a vital role in containing the breach, assessing the impact, and coordinating the response, including the potential decryption of affected data if necessary.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon17Compliance and auditing 
IT departments ensure that encryption practices comply with relevant regulations and industry standards. They participate in security audits and assessments to validate compliance.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon18Employee training
IT professionals collaborate with human resources and security teams to provide training and awareness programs for employees. They ensure that all staff understands the importance of data encryption and follows best practices.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon19Monitoring and reporting
IT teams continuously monitor encrypted data and network traffic for signs of intrusion or suspicious activities. They generate reports and alerts for potential security threats.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - icon20Disaster recovery
IT departments develop and maintain data recovery and backup strategies to ensure data can be restored in the event of a breach or data loss. Encryption plays a role in securing backups as well.

Always be prepared

From sensitive personal information to critical business data, the need for data security has never been greater. 

That makes data encryption a fundamental component of any operation's cyber security approach — a component that lands on the shoulders of IT.

Cyber criminals aren’t going anywhere. In fact, their methods are only going to get more creative and sophisticated. But with proper data encryption in place, businesses can successfully thwart attacks before they inflict damage. That makes it a very sound investment.

dc - The Power of Data Encryption - cta


Russ is Vice President and CTO of Dynamic Computing. He sets the vision for our technical staff and provides the highest level of support with complex problems. Russ knows Dynamic Computing inside and out, and he’s helped build the company from a handful of clients with simple networks to a thriving, complex managed IT service. He sets the vision for our technical staff and provides the highest level of support for complex installations and any challenging issues that arise. He also relentlessly evaluates new technologies and security best practices and determines how and when to implement improvements for our clients. Russ holds a degree in Business Administration with an Information Systems concentration from the University of Washington. Outside the office, you’re most likely to encounter him skiing, playing sports, or spending time with his family.