Enterprise File Encryption and Protection


The more technology we use to ease our lives and work, the more challenges it throws up at us. Computers, the Internet and the Cloud have opened up a whole new era of data sharing and collaboration, which seem to have endless possibilities of making things happen. Alongside, this brought to the fore, the challenges of privacy, security, confidentiality, and made data security a core issue in the technology circles. Enterprises that were adopting technology for the ease of working improved productivity, and better customer experiences, had to worry about data security as well. Many enterprises had to even pay a huge price for not paying as much attention to data security as they should have.

Data breaches are common in the enterprise world; considering that many enterprises are fully or partially working in the remote mode, it seems it has only made it easy for hackers. A recent statistic states that cybercrime is up 600% due to the Corona pandemic! Not that it was any less earlier; malware, social engineering, ransomware, phishing, cryptojacking, identity thefts, etc. just a few of the multiple modes in which hackers operate. The average cost to companies to cover a data breach worldwide is $3.86 million and the cybercriminals are expected to steal an estimated 33 billion records in 2023.

Enterprise File Protection

This brings to the fore the importance of enterprise file protection, which is one of the most effective ways in which the data and files are protected in the online world. Encryption in the simplest form of definition is to ensure that you deny access to people who are trying to steal your enterprise data. When we share information online with others, we need to be sure that only those that are the intended recipients receive it. For ensuring this, the data that we send is encrypted using certain methods to make it unreadable to hackers. Only the intended recipients would be able to make sense out of the shared data by using the right means to unscramble it. The unscrambling part is known as decryption and together, usually, this forms an encryption-decryption key model. This is achieved through many algorithms designed specifically for the purpose of encrypting/decrypting data.

Encryption becomes a very important weapon in the fight against data security breaches, especially when enterprises are dealing with sensitive information that is bound by regulations and compliances. For example, HIPAA, PCI DSS, EI3PA, FERPA, FCPA, etc. are regulatory bodies that dictate compliances to protect sensitive information. The cost of breaches is heavy, with many regulations imposing hefty fines that may prove crippling. That is apart from the loss of reputation and trust among the customers. Each encryption key set is unique and random, and that is how they ensure a high level of file protection, denying access to hackers.

Encryption is usually of two types: symmetric and asymmetric; the symmetric encryption uses the same password to encrypt and decrypt, while the asymmetric encryption uses a public key, a private key concept for encryption and decryption. A public key used for the encryption is shared with all the users and the private key used for the decryption is not shared. This method, though more secure, is more complex and also tougher to implement on a large scale. Digital certificates issued through authorized Certificate Authority (CA) using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), is one way using which public keys can be effectively implemented.

A drawback of the symmetric encryption is that if hackers can gain access to a network and the shared key, then they can decrypt the data. This problem occurs with asymmetric encryption also as if hackers access your private network to capture the public key, and then the data is compromised. Hackers too, have been trying to go one up in the game and many encryption technologies have thus been abandoned due to the vulnerabilities exposed in them. This has led to innovation in the security encryption technologies and many different standards and algorithms have come up.

Encryption Technologies

Some of the commonly used encryption standards are Data Encryption Standard (DES), Triple DES, Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA), Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Twofish, and SSL. AES currently happens to be one of the most secure encryption standards in use, as it uses a block cipher encryption method, as compared to the bit encryption method. Hence, we have AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256, based on the number of bits encrypted in the block. AES is a symmetric encryption technology and requires the sharing of the key with intended recipients so that they can access the data. AES-256 is said to be the strongest of the lost as the encryption becomes stronger as the block size increases.

RSA is another secure and powerful encryption technology that can be used when enterprises are more worried about security and not the ease of decryption. RSA uses 4096 bits for encryption and works on a combination of two keys for encryption and decryption, and is said to be one of the strongest.

At a file level, the technologies used are File Transfer Protocol over SSL (FTPS), SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) and Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). File encryptions usually use block cipher methods. Each of these uses encryption keys to secure data and is good enough to protect the data. But, it is also true that there still are vulnerabilities in file and data transfer methods that hackers exploit constantly.

Since most enterprises have fully or partially moved to the Cloud, the Cloud service providers too adopted a combination of these technologies to ensure data security. Enterprises evaluate the providers, on the security standards and include the data breach clauses into the contracts. Hence, Cloud service providers combine the best technologies and policies, to ensure compliance and security. This includes layers of security at every level of the Cloud infrastructure, backup and recovery options, decryption keys with time expiry limits, logs and audits and immediate remedial measures in case of any breach. The enterprises back this up with access granted only to authorized personnel, backups stored off-site, employee awareness training, and more.

Encryption at Rest

Many people think that encryption is required only for the data is being moved or transferred on a network. However, encryption is needed even for data that is at rest on the various servers of an enterprise. Hackers do not just attack data on the move, but that is at rest as well. Encrypting data at rest makes it tough for hackers to access it. They would first have to break into the server and then the files to access it. Hence, if you have set up alarms and logs at every level, then the alarms go off when they get in through the first or second layer of firewalls, etc. This provides ample time for the IT personnel to investigate the cause and take necessary measures to prevent that hack before they reach the file level.

Overall, data security, whether at rest or on the move, is a matter of serious interest to enterprises. It is of prime importance while putting in place Data Governance policies, or choosing Cloud Service providers. Enterprises have learned to evaluate their security needs and create and implement policies at multiple layers to ensure the safety of their data. This is done not only to ensure compliances and avoid breaches and fines but equally for maintaining customer confidence and ensuring business continuity. The smarter enterprises have learned from others’ mistakes, are ensuring their systems are safe and secure from all known forms of attacks. Security comes at a cost, no doubt; but then, not paying attention to it comes at a bigger cost, and that is what enterprises do not want.

FileCloud and Security

Being the industry’s fastest-growing Enterprise File Sharing solution provider, FileCloud takes security, privacy, and data ownership very seriously, and these are fundamental to FileCloud’s security architecture. This is why more than 3000 enterprises have chosen to go with it for their needs.  The various security features that make it a strong contender in this industry are:

  • 256-bit AES SSL encryption at Rest
  • Active Directory integration
  • Two-factor authentication
  • SSO (single sign-on)
  • Granular user and file-sharing permissions
  • Client application security policies
  • Automatic anti-virus scanning of files when uploading
  • Unlimited file versioning
  • File locking
  • Endpoint device protection
  • Comprehensive HIPAA compliant audit trail and GDPR compliance

FileCloud also supports federal security standard FIPS 140-2. FileCloud protects data at rest and in transit using SSL and HTTPS-based security features and administrators have great control over the various settings of their data. Besides, AES-256 bit encryption is used at the storage level to ensure maximum security. Perhaps, this is why FileCloud received the Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice  Award for the second consecutive time.