December 20, 2017

    Securing Files: The Complete Guide to At-Rest Encryption

    For many companies, ensuring data is securely shared both internally and externally has become a growing priority. With the threat of hackers looming, protecting sensitive data is no longer a want – it’s a necessity. And, encryption is a security measure companies have adopted to make sure their data is safe when transferred from one user to another.

    While many companies have concerns about securely transferring data, they’re forgetting about the vulnerabilities of data at rest. Even when valuable data isn’t being transferred, it’s still important to shield it from threats. At-rest encryption is the only way to ensure your stored data is protected, even when you’re not using it.

    If you want to protect your at-rest data from the threat of unauthorized access, learn more about at-rest encryption and the number of benefits that come with it.


    What is At-Rest Encryption?

    At-rest data encryption is the protection of stored files. Think about a single file you have on your computer. That stored file is currently at rest. If you email the file to a coworker, the data is copied and once it is sent, the copy is no longer at rest but is now in-transit. The original file remains at rest on your computer. When the copied file is received by your coworker and stored on their computer, that new file is at rest on their hard drive.

    So, most files spend far more time at rest than they do in transit. However, if at-rest data is not encrypted, it could be vulnerable to a number of risks, including both physical and virtual theft.

    One of the most common types of at-rest encryption is full disk encryption. Full disk encryption provides encryption for your entire hard drive automatically. As long as data is stored on your drive, it will be protected by full disk encryption. That means information can only be accessed by someone with administrative rights on the system.

    So, why is full disk encryption important for companies to have? It’s helpful in the event of physical theft. If your computer, mobile device, or USB drive is stolen, you don’t have to worry about the data that is stored on your equipment. This is especially crucial as more and more employees are using mobile devices for work purposes. Full disk encryption also makes recycling hard drives, computers, or phones safer. There’s no need to be concerned with data security when your physical assets are out of your hands.

    Encryption: Should You Do It Yourself?

    Encryption isn’t about preventing a data breach that might happen. Today, it’s just a matter of time before a data breach does happen. And, while no security measure is foolproof, encryption makes accessing data increasingly difficult for hackers.

    Data should always be encrypted both when it’s stored in-house (before and after transfer), and while stored on a managed file storage and sharing solution. So, when you’re sharing files, should you adopt end-user managed tools or should you turn to a managed file sharing service? Many companies choose the DIY route to cut costs, but this can leave data vulnerable and your company at risk.

    When you engage a managed file sharing solution, the provider is responsible for encrypting your data, both in transit and at rest. There are a number of benefits of choosing this model:

      1. Instant Encryption. Your data is encrypted from the moment you adopt an FTP solution. The provider already has encryption measures in place, so you can begin protecting your data immediately.
      2. Expert Management. Experts are setting up and managing your encryption measures. This ensures stronger protections for your data. Your provider is also focused on keeping your encryption up-to-date. Hackers get smarter every day and you need the latest encryption measures to keep them at bay.
      3. Long-Term Cost Savings. While DIY encryption is cheaper upfront, adopting an encrypted FTP solution offers a different kind of monetary savings. You don’t have to dedicate your own resources or hire experts to set up your own encryption. You save both time and money.
      4. Ease of Use.  A DIY solution requires that all users learn how to encrypt their files and protect them with a strong key (password). Likewise, a DIY solution also requires a recipient of a transferred file to learn how to use the DIY tools to decrypt the file. An FTP solution can make the entire encrypt/decrypt process transparent to the users and easy to navigate.
      5. Easily Maintain Compliance. Many companies in the health and financial industries are subject to compliance regulations dealing with data security. Top FTP solutions take steps to ensure their solution is compliance-ready. When you adopt these solutions and use the provider’s security controls properly, you have far less to worry about as to the risks of a data breach. In the event of a breach, you could be subject to fines (if you’re subject to compliance standards), you could lose business, and your reputation could be irreparably damaged.

    The only benefit of setting up your own encryption when sharing files may be the initial cost savings. However, that small price isn’t worth the potential risks and inconveniences that can be avoided when you work with an expert provider.

    With critical data, you can never be too careful. To ensure you have the highest levels of at-rest encryption, it’s wise to partner with a top FTP solution provider. You will have a team of experts on your side, ensuring data that’s stored in the FTP server is protected. From helping you maintain compliance to warding off hackers, FTP providers have all the at-rest encryption measures covered, so you can rest easy knowing your data is secure while it is “in the provider’s hands”.

    Do you want to find an FTP solution equipped to protect both at-rest and in-transit data? Download this free comparison guide now.


    Martin Horan

    Martin, Sharetru's Founder, brings deep expertise in secure file transfer and IT, driving market niche success through quality IT services.

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