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2/8/2019
02:00 PM

6 Reasons to Be Wary of Encryption in Your Enterprise

Encryption can be critical to data security, but it's not a universal panacea.
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Encryption Is Opaque
Encryption works. That is, once encrypted, data can't be examined without being unencrypted. That's great if you're trying to thwart a hacker. It's considerably less great if you're trying to check data for consistency or regulatory compliance.
If the need for transparency exists for data at rest, then the solution is relatively simple, if possibly expensive: Decrypt the data, examine it, then re-encrypt it if the data must be recommitted to the database. It might be possible to design a process that does all of this without an excessive performance penalty. But things get vastly more complicated when the encrypted data is in motion, flowing through a VPN.
In most cases, looking inside the data flowing through a VPN requires launching a man-in-the-middle attack against yourself. The VPN must be terminated, the data decrypted and inspected, then a new tunnel created linking the data to its destination. Doing this, especially at enterprise scale, is expensive and introduces at least one additional point of failure for the network. Some security solutions say they can do certain levels of inspection without unencrypting the network traffic, but they are still new and at least somewhat limited in the inspection they can perform.
(Image: cutimage via Adobe Stock)

Encryption Is Opaque

Encryption works. That is, once encrypted, data can't be examined without being unencrypted. That's great if you're trying to thwart a hacker. It's considerably less great if you're trying to check data for consistency or regulatory compliance.

If the need for transparency exists for data at rest, then the solution is relatively simple, if possibly expensive: Decrypt the data, examine it, then re-encrypt it if the data must be recommitted to the database. It might be possible to design a process that does all of this without an excessive performance penalty. But things get vastly more complicated when the encrypted data is in motion, flowing through a VPN.

In most cases, looking inside the data flowing through a VPN requires launching a man-in-the-middle attack against yourself. The VPN must be terminated, the data decrypted and inspected, then a new tunnel created linking the data to its destination. Doing this, especially at enterprise scale, is expensive and introduces at least one additional point of failure for the network. Some security solutions say they can do certain levels of inspection without unencrypting the network traffic, but they are still new and at least somewhat limited in the inspection they can perform.

(Image: cutimage via Adobe Stock)

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davinoishi
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davinoishi,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/12/2019 | 11:35:33 AM
Transparent Encryption
While file and volume encryption have limits, there are transparent solutions available that allow information to remain encrypted even in use.
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