When it comes to security measures to protect a company’s data, as well the personal information of their employees and clients, encryption has been one of the main tools to get the job done.
Encryption, which enables a user to change that confidential information so that no one can read it without the proper security measures, has its roots in the military. But it’s been around as a security measure in the corporate world for decades. According to a 2007 survey by the Computer Security Institute, 71 percent of companies already were using encryption to protect data in transit while 53 percent used it for some of their data in storage.
Fast forward to today, and many companies are facing the realization that they need to extend the use of encryption to securely protect data — especially in light of a wave of potential data breaches related to stolen company laptops.
In many of those cases, the laptops were passcode protected — but not encrypted.
Although many companies have been susceptible, the attention has been heavily focused on the healthcare industry. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. more than 900,000 Americans have had their personal data compromised.
Premier Healthcare, based in Bloomington, Ind., recently announced that it was upgrading its security measures to include encryption on all of its computers after a laptop was stolen — exposing 200,000 healthcare records to data breaches.
Within the first few months of 2016, 30 breaches of health data had already been reported. These cases involved the personal information of 500 or more people — the number in which it is required that it is publicly reported.
Even major enterprise companies are not immune. In a highly publicized case, Coca-Cola announced that the personal information of about 74,000 current and former employees were at risk because of stolen laptops.
In addition to potential hefty fines, the negative publicity caused to a company’s brand could lead to massive losses. However, only with recent cyberattacks and data breaches, have companies started to step up their game by taking a more aggressive stance in encrypting its computer equipment.
New advances have made encryption a security measure that more companies can more easily implement and expand to protect sensitive data.