Protecting sensitive data through encryption and other means

One of the most common ways of sensitive data when transferring digitally is to make use of encryption. Commonly used encryption methods include symmetrical keys, asymmetrical keys and hybrid keys. Cryptography that employs symmetric keys often uses the same key for decrypting and encrypting data.

In order for encryption and decryption to remain secure, it is important that the security of that specific key is critical. Types of symmetric key system include AES, DES and 3DES.

Protecting Sensitive Data via Encryption

Public key cryptography also referred to as asymmetrical key cryptography employs various pairs of keys for encrypting data. The initial pair of keys encrypts the data file, while the second pair decrypts the same file. In some cases, the second key encrypts the file while the first key is used in decrypting the file.

Business partners are provided with one key, which is known as the public key, while the private key is kept safeguarded. Only with the help of the private key, can the encrypted data file be read.

Asymmetrical key cryptography is useful in solving the security issue that arises with symmetric key cryptography. However, the issue with asymmetric keys is that they tend to be slow-moving at equal intensities. Common examples of asymmetric cryptography include DSA and RSA.

A new form of cryptography known as hybrid key systems makes use of both symmetric as well asymmetric keys to safeguard data files. In hybrid cryptography, asymmetric key is employed in encrypting the symmetric key, which is further used to encrypt the data file. The hybrid process is instrumental in solving the problem of safeguarding the symmetric key, while also solving operational concerns with employing just asymmetric keys.

Authorising documents

A sensitive data file can be protected with the help of document control authorization, which is useful in limiting the rights of what the user can do with or to the data file. Data authorization is accomplished by controlling the data file’s sanctions and dynamic document controls. These sanctions can control the access rights of the user’s ability to edit, print or copy the specific digital document.

Expiration and withdrawal rights can also be set by the help of dynamic document control, whereby the data files automatically annul user rights after being accessed a given number of times or when a determined date or period of time has taken place. For instance, Adobe Acrobat allows one to configure authorisations and dynamic controls fairly well.

Accountability of data files

Data file accountability helps in tracking the usage of the specific file and communicates the tracking back to the original sender. Accountability verifies that the recipient has received and opened the data file.

The original sender can also receive notifications about certain permissions that would give have been given to the recipient on whether they have been used. This provides the original sender with vital knowledge regarding time-sensitive data files.

Authenticating documents

Confirming the identity of the user accessing a classified data file is extremely critical and this is resolved with the help of authentication. Authentication is achieved by entering a username and password to retrieve the contents in the file. The identity issued by the original sender permits the user to access specific permissions.

The security of the password to access the document is extremely critical in keeping the classified data file protected. The level of security needed to secure the confidential document should reflect the requirements of the password configuration. Similarly, specific compliance requirements for password complexity also need to be corresponded.

Client Portals

Furthermore, there are various ways of containing the security of classified data files during transmission; one such way is to consider the employment of client portals as a method of commuting data with business partners.

Client portals are common means of transferring data files, and offer requisite protection to such files. A number of vendors provide client portal services, hence it is important to understand what one is looking for when deciding the right kind of vendor.

The client portal must be considered as a new direct contact with one’s business partners, and when doing so, a low-cost client portal does not appear appealing. A client portal must be chosen on the basis of its capability to enhance employee productivity, reduce expenditure, permit business partners access at all times and on the whole improve customer service. Some basic points to consider while comparing various client portals include:

  • Comfortable usage — least amount of time needed to train, easily understood and operable by non-specialists, simple user interface, easy uploading and downloading properties;
  • Simple to set up and configure by users;
  • Secured access and is simple to monitor; and
  • Record of the file being updated and notification capacities

Apart from rendering a safe and sound system to transmit data files, a number of progressive client portals are now incorporating features from various compatible software systems to enhance proficiency and output. Specific tax software processes can now connect easily with client portals to effortlessly transfer tax information.

In conclusion, there are a number of means and solutions to render security for sensitive data file when transferring them with business associates. The fundamental point to remember is to be cognisant of the means that are employed and the related hazards that may come up with those solutions.

Top/Featured Image: By stux / Pixabay

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Protecting sensitive data through encryption and other means

by Ali Qamar time to read: 3 min
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