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The importance of endpoint encryption in your cyber security strategy

In today’s digital age, business data can be accessed from any device, at any time. This is of great benefit for end-users and organisations, allowing them to accumulate and share huge quantities of valuable data through cloud-based services, removable media, network drives, browsers, and email—all of which are vulnerable to security breaches. Financial information, customer names and addresses, and confidential business plans are just a few of the valuable data that can be contained within the encrypted data.

To ensure data stays safe from being accessed by unauthorised users, or loss or theft of devices, it is important to ensure security and protection of endpoints is a part of your business cyber security strategy. There are many ways to secure endpoints in your business today, including endpoint security management and endpoint backup. It is important to remember to add endpoint encryption to your security strategy.

What is endpoint encryption?

Endpoint encryption is a critical layer in your organisation’s data security strategy. Data is encoded or scrambled in such a way that it may only be accessed or used by a user with the correct decryption key. Even if multiple security layers of protection such as anti-malware, firewalls, and data loss protection are breached, data that is encrypted remains protected. When data is stored and sent to another endpoint, encryption can ensure it remains secure from unapproved access.

To meet data protection standards and stay compliant, businesses often require endpoint encryption. Sensitive data is safeguarded both at the storage and communication phases by using endpoint encryption software. This includes health care records, bank account numbers, or other personally-identifying information.

Companies may employ two primary strategies for endpoint protection by encrypting the entire hard drive or files:

Whole drive encryption

With whole drive encryption, the operating system and data on laptops and desktops are safeguarded by encrypting the entire drive, except for the master boot record. The machine can boot and locate the encryption driver to unlock it, so the drive is left unencrypted. If a computer with an encrypted drive is lost, it is highly unlikely that anyone will be able to access the data on it. Because whole drive encryption is automatic, any content stored on the drive is automatically encrypted. Users can be authorised on an encrypted drive by:

  • The drive boots into the operating system, and then the user must sign in before accessing applications or data

  • Pre-boot authentication requires a PIN or password to be entered before the operating system boots, ensuring the data remains encrypted until authentication is complete

File encryption

It is also possible to encrypt selected files, images, or directories rather than the entire system. This protects the files or directories even after a user successfully logs in to the system, and they are only accessible after the correct password, token, or other authentication measure is entered when prompted.

data encryption

Why endpoint encryption is an important part of your cyber security strategy

Whether through full disk or file encryption, endpoint encryption solutions offer organisations the ability to protect their business data stored on any device against cyber threats:

  • Data security: Endpoint encryption is an important cybersecurity measure to protect sensitive data from being accessed or leaked. An attacker with physical access to a device cannot access the data it contains if endpoint encryption is used.

  • Protection against malware: Full-disk encryption makes it infeasible to modify the system without knowing the password used to encrypt it.

  • Regulatory compliance: Endpoint encryption on devices holding sensitive data can be an important part of compliance with some data protection regulations.

It is also important to consider the risks of endpoints being accessed physically. This is possible if a device is lost or stolen, particularly with today’s increased adoption of remote work and the use of mobile devices. Devices that are discarded as a result of an upgrade can also contain sensitive information, which can potentially be collected and an attempt made to read corporate data.

Why organisations need endpoint encryption

High-tech industries or those that deal with sensitive data, such as pharmaceutical companies need to keep their research safe from competitors. Healthcare and financial services firms must comply with government regulations to protect patient and consumer data. Unregulated industries are also concerned about data security and require security solutions to protect data and endpoint devices from malicious activity. Data breach costs can reach millions, not just in recovery, but in loss of business, negative publicity, as well as partner or customer legal action.

Protect your endpoints with the experts

To ensure your organisation’s IT infrastructure has the most robust security and threat detection system in place, endpoint encryption is a must-have. Security products such as firewalls, intrusion prevention, and identity and access management solutions help secure data within the organisation. However, as data breaches have become increasingly common and the increased use of mobile devices for remote and hybrid workplaces, endpoint data encryption adds an extra layer of security that can mitigate advanced threats and cyber-attacks. Talk to the cyber security experts at INTELLIWORX today for tailored security solutions that meet all your business needs.

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