Encryption 101: Covering the Bases

Here’s an overview of the key encryption types you’ll need to lock down your company’s systems.

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The Apple-FBI case underscored the importance of encryption to modern businesses. But now that the dust has mostly settled and we’re back to day-in, day-out IT management, just what do security managers need to know about encryption?

Tony Themelis, vice president of product strategy for Digital Guardian, says companies should start by identifying the four basic types of encryption and how far along they are with each of the following: encryption for files and folders, emails, cloud applications like Box or DropBox, and removable media.

“Typically companies start with encryption for removable media because that is the simplest form,” he explains. “Then they will move on to email and encryption for cloud apps.”

While this strategy makes sense, Themelis points out that another important question security managers need to ask is whether the public key infrastructures they are building can support all these forms of encryption.

“Not all solutions provide that level of support,” he says. “So it’s important to find out because setting up a PKI is very complicated.”

Based on input from Themelis and Gartner Analyst John Girard, the following slideshow lays out the basics of what security managers need to know about the major forms of encryption.

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

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