Data encryption is becoming more popular, but it has proven to be inadequate.
Organizations now must safeguard their most sensitive data as it is generated, transported, and stored to provide comprehensive data protection and application defense while being compliant. This necessitates that businesses correctly encrypt this data, which has its own encryption key management issues and efficiently adopt a key management server (KMS) solution. The need for encryption key management is equally essential for government IT infrastructure.
Before dwelling on the challenges faced while implementing encryption key management solutions, let’s understand how data encryption works.
Encryption is a popular method for data protection. The concept behind data encryption is simple. Users wish to make data or information indecipherable to all but those who are authorized to access it. In the encryption technique, a key scrambles the text into unreadable ciphertext. When the intended user requests this data or text, it is decrypted or translated back to the original format.
Why is it challenging to implement encryption key management?
It’s is essential that digital data continue to be readily available to the one it is shared with. To do so effectively, encryption keys should be distributed at scale. When a key expires in a conventional key management setting, the IT team is responsible for upgrading the key. Besides this, they are also tasked to manage the organization’s entire set of keys.
Furthermore, the variety of ways we connect online is constantly expanding. Even if we produce encrypted files in one storage program, we may need to distribute those files across platforms, such as an email link or a separate storage tool. Because encryption keys do not always function when used on different operating systems, one must frequently manage numerous key transfers for the same data.
These initiatives are typically time-intensive and divert precious resources away from staff focusing on higher-value government IT solutions. Furthermore, poor key management can result in the loss of keys or a hacker getting them and utilizing them to steal or change data.
Misconceptions Regarding Encryption key management
Aside from all of these obstacles in successfully implementing KMS, there are two frequent data encryption misconceptions:
- If a company encrypts your data, they cannot access it.
This is not correct. Even though third-party suppliers offer to make your data unreadable to unauthorized parties, the majority of providers maintain access to your unencrypted material.
- Cyber attackers can access your data if you encrypt it.
Unfortunately, especially in today’s society, this is very hard to ensure.
Poor KMS implementation results in compliance issues
Inadequate KMS installation might result in compliance difficulties.
Furthermore, inadequate encryption key management techniques may result in new potential threats, such as upgrading system certificates or finding systems that require upgrading. Ineffective KMS integration also makes compliance with industry laws exceedingly challenging.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), for example, mandates merchants to secure information of the cardholders from getting lost. The standards also require the merchants to apply adequate security procedures to detect and prevent security breaches. PCI DSS provides detailed recommendations on encryption keys and key management services.