5 Critical Standards for Secure Data Encryption

by Brad Garland

Data encryption is a crucial part of any organization’s security policy. In addition to putting the right technology in place, adhering to data encryption standards also means educating employees about the importance of data security. Use the following five critical standards for secure data encryption to keep your organization’s data safe at all network security


1. Stay Consistent with Corporate Security

Company guidelines regarding security are there for a reason. There are many situations in which encryption makes sense, such as the storage and transmission of sensitive information. Review your organization’s current security policy to find out what sensitive information exists, and then use the location and nature of that sensitive data to create a solid foundation for your encryption strategy. Throughout the design phase, keep in mind all compliance regulations in your industry, and don't forget about your client’s industry as well. This might be the most important (and overlooked) concept as it could lead to controls, gaps, and/or client-specific policies you have not put in place. If you provide services for clients in different regions, remember that compliance regulations can vary among countries and states.


2. Keep Humans in Mind

Remember that humans have to interact with your security systems, so avoid making your program so invasive that it interferes with how users interact with the network. If you have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in your organization, highly invasive security policies could encourage users to bypass the corporate network entirely, which is bad news for the safety of your data. Many security breaches result from employees not abiding by company policy, so try to make your security systems as unintrusive and easy to use as possible. It also could be beneficial to remind employees why a control is needed in the first place through training or education. It might help relieve a little of the frustration.


3. Decide What Really Needs to Be Encrypted

How much of your internal data is truly sensitive? Encrypting everything on the network can impact productivity, reduce the functionality of internal systems and interfere in the coordination of tasks. It can even lead to a lax attitude toward security if employees start to see company policy as overly strict.


4. Address the Cloud

The amount of data stored in the cloud has increased tremendously over the last few years, posing challenges to organizations that are concerned about data encryption. When designing security policies for the cloud, remember that end users have certain expectations about the accessibility of cloud data. With this in mind, you should encrypt only the data in the cloud that really needs to be secure, as encryption of all cloud data would be time-consuming and result in a clunky user experience. You should also ensure the cloud service you are using has the appropriate controls and security best practices in place if you are going to utilize it for sensitive data. 



5. Adopt a Holistic Approach

Data encryption is not the only aspect of a solid security program. True security involves bringing users on board as assistants to the security program rather than regarding them as the enemy. As you design and develop your security policies, maintain an open dialogue with users regarding their needs.

Need help designing a security policy that balances the needs of users with secure data encryption? Get in touch with Vala Secure today. We can help you to develop a security policy that works for your organization.