Encryption and Data Recovery
By Matt Brennan
When it comes to creating a safer data environment, encryption is an excellent tool. There are several benefits to masking your data and communications in this manner, and it’s created a more secure environment for both businesses that store personal data, and their customers who submit it. Yet encryption and data recovery don’t mix easily.
When you choose to encrypt data or communication there is a real possibility that you won’t be able to access your data again, in the event of a loss. Encrypted data can provide headaches when it comes to data recovery.
Encryption and Data Recovery: Why is this So Complex?
When you experience data loss, you may be surprised to hear that encryption can make things more complicated. Essentially, when data is encrypted, it is scrambled into a pattern that equates to complete gibberish, without the encryption key. That key is what is necessary to unscramble the information in its original form.
The key is a specific algorithm from the hardware or software being used, and if it’s lost, it’s near impossible to make a recovery. It’s more complex and sophisticated than password protection, which can be cracked by hackers or cybercriminals.
Types of Encryption Used
There are two main types of data encryption – symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric relies on the same key to decrypt and encrypt data. This poses a small security risk in that more people hold the key. Asymmetric encryption relies on different keys for encryption or decryption, and they’re known as public and private keys.
When you want to send someone encrypted data, you use their public key for encryption. They would then use their private key for decryption.
When Encryption is The Right Tool
It’s important to think about this for a moment. Hard drives crash. Spills happen. Hackers attack innocent people. With so much that can go wrong in the world of cyber security and data recovery, why do people still use encrypted data, even if in the event of a crisis, their data is near unrecoverable?
Encryption is certainly a risk. When you encrypt data, the gamble is that the data may also be unrecoverable, even by you. The whole purpose of data encryption is to ensure that specific data never falls into the wrong hands. It’s a method for making data and information secure enough that it’s almost impossible to recover without the key.
This is a dilemma that pits data security against data recovery. When the data security is that strong, it hamstrings any ability to eventually recover the data. Before encrypting any of your data, it’s important to determine whether the risks involved are worth it. For instance, students, home users, or anyone who isn’t concerned about the sensitive data being stored on their machine may be creating more problems in the future event of data loss.
It’s important to keep these considerations in mind when you make the decision regarding encryption in your data security efforts.