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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 Isn't Free
Both Microsoft and Apple now include encryption as an option for clients running their operating systems. So if there's no additional charge for encrypting the hard disk on a laptop, encryption is free for everyone, right? Well, no.
First, there's a dramatic difference between encrypting the hard disk of a laptop or desktop computer and encrypting the petabytes that make up a modern enterprise data storage infrastructure. There's really no comparing the scale of the two processes in a way that's meaningful. Time is one of the resources that is eaten in vast quantities by the latter; CPU cycles and memory are two more.
There is also a performance impact for encryption and decryption. The small performance penalty that may be all but unnoticeable on an encrypted laptop can become unbearable when multiplied across tens of thousands of users and millions of transactions. Very real costs are associated with encrypting data - and the conversation hasn't even reached the point of discussing the cost of the software or services to provide the encryption itself.
The point is that encryption has costs associated with it - costs that must be weighed against the benefits of encryption for a particular piece of data. It's a rare organization that will find every bit so important that it's sufficiently valuable to justify the cost of encryption, so calculations are required in even the smallest of companies.
(Image: Victor Moussa via Adobe Stock)

Encryption Isn't Free

Both Microsoft and Apple now include encryption as an option for clients running their operating systems. So if there's no additional charge for encrypting the hard disk on a laptop, encryption is free for everyone, right? Well, no.

First, there's a dramatic difference between encrypting the hard disk of a laptop or desktop computer and encrypting the petabytes that make up a modern enterprise data storage infrastructure. There's really no comparing the scale of the two processes in a way that's meaningful. Time is one of the resources that is eaten in vast quantities by the latter; CPU cycles and memory are two more.

There is also a performance impact for encryption and decryption. The small performance penalty that may be all but unnoticeable on an encrypted laptop can become unbearable when multiplied across tens of thousands of users and millions of transactions. Very real costs are associated with encrypting data and the conversation hasn't even reached the point of discussing the cost of the software or services to provide the encryption itself.

The point is that encryption has costs associated with it costs that must be weighed against the benefits of encryption for a particular piece of data. It's a rare organization that will find every bit so important that it's sufficiently valuable to justify the cost of encryption, so calculations are required in even the smallest of companies.

(Image: Victor Moussa 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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Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  3/24/2020
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